Brown Bridge Quiet Area Expansion


City Manager's Office


(231) 922-4440

December 2023

The City of Traverse City has been awarded a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Grant in the amount of $2,352,200 to be used for land acquisition at the Brown Bridge Quiet Area.  After the City was presented the opportunity to acquire 528 acres of land adjacent to the Brown Bridge Quiet Area for $3,098,445, the City Commission approved a resolution to apply for a MNRTF Grant in the amount of $2,352,200. At the November 2023 election, an overwhelming support of over 80% of City voters approved usage of the principal from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund to match the grant in an amount not to exceed $746,245.

Read the full Press Release

June 2023

The City Commission adopted ballot proposal resolutions related to the potential land acquisition adjacent to the Brown Bridge Quiet Area at the their June 19, 2023 meeting. 

The grant match expenditure requires two proposals on the November 7, 2023 ballot.

BALLOT QUESTION ONE: The 2019 ballot proposal inlcuded a provision that funds could not be used in excess of $250,000. Section 129 would need to be amended to delete the provision that no single allocation to a City park capital improvement or City parkland acquisition will be in excess of $250,000.

BALLOT QUESTION TWO: The second ballot question would ask the public for permission to spend the principal from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund to match the grant in an amount not to exceed $746,245.

Both ballot questions would need to pass in order to utilize the Brown Bridge Trust Fund. If these proposals were to fail in November, the grant application could be withdrawn.

Learn more about the Ballot Proposal


At their March 20, 2023 meeting, the City Commission adopted a resolution for a grant application to the Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund (MNRTF) related to the acquisition of two properties adjacent to the Brown Bridge Quiet Area (BBQA) that are combined, 528 acres.

The MNRTF Grant request will be in the amount of $2,352,200 to support the 528 acre acquisition. The portion of funding on the City’s behalf will be up to $746,245. Should the City Commission adopt the resolution for the MDNR Trust Fund grant application, in the future, they will be asked to consider to allow taking the question of expenditures to a public vote to utilize the Brown Bridge Quiet Area Trust Funds for the City’s portion. The City intends to work with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy to assist with the development of methodologies on how to process the properties through the MNRTF Land Acquisition Grant Program.

The Brown Bridge Quiet Area is approximately 1310 acres of City-owned property located 11 miles southeast of Traverse City within the Boardman River Watershed. The City acquired property in the early 1900s and it was established as a natural area for quiet recreation by the City Commission on March 21, 1977 and July 1, 1991, on the City-owned property, including frontage on the Boardman River.  Since 1993, the City has contracted with the Grand Traverse Conservation District (GTCD) through a series of three-year contracts to manage the property.




The City continues to operate the BBQA through a contract with the Grand Traverse Conservation District for management services and an Advisory Committee that has established a Management Plan. The proposed
application is in support of the City’s 5-year approved Parks and Recreation Plan and the BBQA Management Plan. The City Commission's 2022 adopted Goals and Objectives identified connecting people with nature as a
strategic priority with a goal to provide safe and accessible public spaces where people may recreate, socialize, or enjoy being alone in nature.

Brown Bridge Trust Fund

In the 1970s, oil was discovered on the property. As a result the City established the Brown Bridge Trust Fund. 

In 2019, a ballot proposal passed by 75.89% to allow the City Commission for a period of five years to use part of the Brown Bridge Trust Fund Principal that exceeds $12,000,000 in a separate trust fund to be used for City park capital improvements and/or acquisition of property to be designated and used as City parklands.

Funding & Timeline

$2,352,200:  MNRTF Grant Request
Due: April 1, 2023
Notification: 12 - 18 months

$746,245: City Required Match
City Commission Consideration to approve ballot language for use of Brown Bridge Trust Funds: April 15th
November 8, 2023: Taking the question of expenditures to a public vote to utilize the Brown Bridge Quiet Area Trust Funds for the City’s portion