November 29, 2021, – Lansing – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that 16 municipalities would receive almost $2 million in Recreation Passport funding. The Recreation Passport grant program began 11 years ago with the purpose of increasing visitors and financing to Michigan state parks while also providing additional cash for smaller, community parks and trail enhancements around the state.
“The Recreation Passport gives Michigan residents and visitors access to our state’s unmatched natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities all year long,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Every Recreation Passport purchase provides grant funding that helps communities bring to life the kind of modern, inclusive outdoor spaces that welcome residents of all abilities.”
Two areas of Michigan’s Upper Thumb received funding for the effort. The City of Marlette in Sanilac County received $150,000 for Marlette Pool House Renovations The Village of Elkton in Huron County received $150,000 for Ackerman Park Walking Path Improvements.
Tourism visiting Michigan parks adds value to the local economy, produces employment, and keeps small businesses afloat. The outdoor recreation business in Michigan contributes billions of dollars to the state’s GDP, employs 126,000 people, and pays over $4.7 billion in wages and compensation. On average, every dollar invested in land protection yields a $4 return on investment.
In 2010, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) established the Recreation Passport, which replaced the customary yearly motor vehicle permit for state park admission with a purchasing scheme related to license plate renewal. Since the program’s inception, support for the Recreation Passport has progressively expanded – more than a third of Michigan registered vehicles now have the Recreation Passport on their license plate tabs – which means additional grant cash is available. The Recreation Passport grant program (created by Public Act 35 of 2010) has given little over $14.6 million statewide with the announcement of this year’s grantees.