LANSING — State Representative John Kivela (D-Marquette) announced today that the House of Representatives has approved House Bill 5377, which funds Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund projects across the state, including three in Kivela’s district: Laughing Whitefish Falls Scenic Site access improvements, Schemwood Iron Ore Heritage Trailhead improvements, and Father Marquette Park accessibility improvements.

“All three of these projects are important to our communities because by improving these attractions, we can draw more tourists to our region, and that will help our local economies,” said Kivela.

The individual projects are:

  • Laughing Whitefish Falls Scenic Site access improvements: The falls, in Alger County, are considered one of Michigan’s most beautiful falls. The site will receive $300,000 to improve the parking lot, pathways and a scenic overlook. Although some improvements have been recently made, the wooden boardwalks and overlook structures have exceeded their usable life. The project will repair these structures to improve safety and accessibility, as well as serving as a trailhead for Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail.
  • Schemwood Iron Ore Heritage Trailhead Parking/Path/Wetland: This project in Marquette Township will receive $50,000 to provide universal access to the Iron Ore Heritage Trail for people of all ages and abilities. The project will also include the development of an overlook to a forested wetland habitat, including an educational nature interpretation sign.
  • Father Marquette Park accessibility/improvement plan: This project, located in the city of Marquette, will receive $140,000 for redevelopment of the site so that it provides access to persons of all ability levels. The project features pathways throughout the park, an elevated viewing platform to provide views of Lake Superior and an accessible picnic area.

“I am pleased that our communities will reap the benefits of these grants and work to improve these important attractions,” said Kivela.

The MNRTF is a restricted fund established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of lands for resource protection and outdoor recreation, as well as for public outdoor recreation development projects. It is funded through interest earned on funds derived from the development of publicly owned minerals. Over the past 39 years, the trust fund has granted more than $1 billion to state and local units of government to develop and improve recreation opportunities in Michigan.