Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Steele secures state dollars for nature center expansion
RELEASE|June 12, 2024
Contact: Donni Steele

State Rep. Donni Steele recently supported a legislative initiative to fund essential natural preservation efforts in Oakland County. Steele’s vote ensures the Johnson Nature Center Preserve in Bloomfield Hills and the Paint Creek Trail, stretching across Oakland County, will receive funding.

Funding for the nature preserves enables trail expansion, provides water access for k-12 water quality studies, and protects the aesthetic values of the center.

“Bloomfield Hills have hardly any greenspace at all, making it so important that we pursue fantastic projects that will protect the little greenspace we have left,” said Steele, R-Orion Township. “This state investment will ensure the nature preserve can expand on its incredible work and continue to provide our students with a one-of-a-kind learning experience out in the woods.”

Funding for the Paint Creek Trail allows for the development of a steel truss bridge on the trail. The structure will replace a 100-year-old timber railroad structure that currently spans Paint Creek. The renovation will improve accessibility for trail users and emergency vehicles.

“I was a member of the Paint Creek Trailways commission for more than ten years, serving as the chair for a time,” Steele said. “This project was part of our master plan. I’m so glad we could secure the funding to finally get this failing bridge fixed.”

State funding for the projects are part of Senate Bill 817, which includes $27.3 million for 18 land acquisition and 35 recreational development projects throughout the state with revenues from the Natural Resources Trust Fund.

The Natural Resources Trust Fund board approved its recommendations in December 2023. The projects received overwhelming support from the Michigan House of Representatives earlier this spring. 

Money in the Natural Resources Trust Fund comes from mineral development on state land – not general tax money – and is distributed annually in partnership with local governments. The funding must be used for acquisition or recreational development projects.


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