GLFT Access to the Great Lakes Fishery Grant Program

Great Lakes Fisheries Trust

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Grant amount: US $500,000

Anticipated deadline: Aug 23, 2020

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit College / University Indigenous Group Elementary / Secondary School

Funding uses: Project / Program, Education / Outreach

Location of project: Preferred: Counties in Michigan: Alger County, Allegan County, Antrim County, Baraga County, Barry County, Benzie County, Berrien County, Branch County, Calhoun County, Cass County, Charlevoix County, Cheboygan County, Clare County, Clinton County, Crawford County, Delta County, Dickinson County, Eaton County, Emmet County, Grand Traverse County, Hillsdale County, Ingham County, Ionia County, Iron County, Isabella County, Jackson County, Kalamazoo County, Kalkaska County, Kent County, Lake County, Leelanau County, Livingston County, Luce County, Mackinac County, Manistee County, Marquette County, Mason County, Mecosta County, Menominee County, Missaukee County, Muskegon County, Newaygo County, Oceana County, Osceola County, Otsego County, Ottawa County, Roscommon County, Schoolcraft County, Shiawassee County, St. Joseph County, Van Buren County, Washtenaw County, Wexford County Other eligible locations: Michigan

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



The GLFT’s Access to the Great Lakes Fishery grant category focuses on significantly increasing access to the Great Lakes fishery for shore-based angling and tribal fishing.

Funding Priorities

The GLFT supports its access goals through a combination of competitive and funder-directed grantmaking. Supported activities may include:

  • New construction of access sites
  • Upgrades and renovations to existing access sites
  • Engineering and feasibility studies for proposed access sites
  • Land acquisition to support subsequent access site development
  • Communication and outreach efforts regarding existing shore-based angling opportunities

Key Outcomes

The key intended outcomes for access grants are to:

  • Increase awareness of the GLFT as an access funder and increase the number of high-quality proposals received by the GLFT
  • Enhance shore-based Great Lakes recreational and tribal angling opportunities through capital improvements where conditions are appropriate
  • Ensure that all jurisdictions on Lake Michigan with suitable site conditions have a public access site
  • Build consensus and knowledge among key stakeholders about the barriers to tribal access site development
  • Create and implement plans to address barriers to the expansion of tribal access site development


The GLFT believes in the importance of transparent funding processes and will continue to refine and use an objective methodology/proposal evaluation sheet that is aligned with the outcomes identified by the GLFT for assessing and prioritizing access proposals.

The GLFT will work collaboratively with the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) to support applicants seeking MNRTF funding for land acquisition and GLFT funding for the development of access amenities.

The GLFT supports the principles of universal design, defined as the “design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design."

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Organizations that are eligible to apply for GLFT grants include nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS (or nongovernmental organizations that hold charitable status in their country), as well as educational and governmental (including tribal) organizations. 
  • GLFT will not fund access projects unless the following threshold conditions are met:
    • A viable sport fishery is present,
    • Physical conditions of a site are appropriate,
    • There are no other access opportunities nearby,
    • The site will be maintained and user regulations enforced,
    • The cost of the project is commensurate with access benefits to be provided, and
    • The proposed access site meets legal accessibility standards for persons with disabilities.
  • Recreational fishing access projects must be located in Michigan on the Great Lakes or lower portions of major tributaries. 


  • Other factors that add value or priority to an effort include:
    • The proposed access site is on Lake Michigan, on a lower tributary of Lake Michigan, or provides tribal access,
    • Potential for use is high, as in urban locations or recreational destination sites offering multiple forms of water-related recreation,
    • The incidence of negative impacts on habitat associated with fishing in unimproved locations can be reduced,
    • Educational messages aligned with the GLFT mission and goals are displayed,
    • Educational or stewardship-oriented programming aligned with the GLFT mission and goals will be in place,
    • For land acquisition, growth/development pressure is occurring, and/or
    • Timing is critical.