Governor Whitmer Announces 16 Communities to Receive Additional Funding to Invest in Local Parks and Trails throughout Michigan


November 29, 2021

Contact: Christie Bayus,

Governor Whitmer Announces 16 Communities to Receive Additional Funding to Invest in Local Parks and Trails throughout Michigan

The Recreation Passport grants output tops $14.6 million, including $2 million for today's announcement

LANSING, Mich. - Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced nearly $2 million in Recreation Passport grants will be awarded to 16 communities for projects. The Recreation Passport grant program started 11 years ago with the goal of boosting visitation and funding for Michigan state parks and created more funding for local, community parks and trails enhancement throughout 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."

Tourism to Michigan parks generates value for surrounding communities, creates jobs, and sustains small businesses. Michigan's outdoor recreation industry supports billions in state Gross Domestic Product and sustains 126,000 jobs and over $4.7 billion in wages and salaries in the state. On average, every $1 invested in land conservation leads to $4 in economic benefit.

The DNR introduced the Recreation Passport in 2010, replacing the traditional annual motor vehicle permit for state park access with a purchase program tied to the renewal of license plate registrations. Support for the Recreation Passport has steadily grown since the program's start - more than a third of Michigan registered vehicles now have the Recreation Passport on their license plate tabs - and that means more available funding for grants. With the announcement of this year's recipients, the Recreation Passport grant program (established by Public Act 35 of 2010) has awarded just over $14.6 million statewide.

View projects recommended for funding for this year's Recreation Passport grant awards. Counties where funded grant projects have been approved include Arenac, Benzie, Berrien, Charlevoix, Huron, Ingham, Leelanau, Marquette, Montmorency, Sanilac, St. Clair, St. Joseph and Van Buren.

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Project Title

Award Amount

City of Watervliet


Hays Dog Park


Homestead Township


Platte River Park Boardwalk and Fishing Platforms


Hillman Township


Tournament/Tiger Paw Park Improvements


City of Sturgis

St. Joseph

Sturgis Splash Pad


City of Marlette


Marlette Pool House Renovations


Village of Elkton


Ackerman Park Walking Path Improvements


Village of Stevensville


Hickory Creek Park Pavilion


Village of Capac

St. Clair

Aldrich Park Improvements


Village of Lawton

Van Buren

Chancy Lewis Park Renovations


Skandia Township


Skandia Township Hall Park Renovation


City of Ishpeming


Teal Lake Water Trail


Village of Empire


Shalda Park Improvements


Casco Township

St. Clair

Casco Township Belle River Park Picnic Area


City of Lansing


Frances Park Accessibility and Shade Structure Improvements


Arenac County


Development of Campground at Oasis Lake Park


City of Charlevoix


Michigan Beach Upland Renovation and Development




Selected projects were scored and selected from a field of 53 grant applications seeking $5.9 million in local funding. Successful applicants clearly demonstrated projects designed to broaden public access to quality outdoor recreation opportunities.

"It's all about getting more people outside, more often, whether you're going camping for the weekend or enjoying an after-dinner stroll at the neighborhood park," said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. "Recreation Passport grants make more of these opportunities possible and having such places to safely turn to is proving to be incredibly important during the COVID pandemic."

The application period for the next round of Recreation Passport grant funding opens in early 2022, with applications due April 1. Learn more about the program and application materials at

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Funding for this program is derived from sales of Michigan's Recreation Passport, required for vehicle entry into Michigan's 103 state parks, 140 state forest campgrounds, hundreds of miles of state trails, historic sites, hundreds of boating access sites and other outdoor spaces. With every sale of a Recreation Passport, 10% goes directly to the grant program.

Approximately 97% of state parks funding for operations and maintenance is generated by user fees and royalty revenues. This includes:
  • 51% from camping and lodging reservation fees.  
  • 26% from Recreation Passport sales.  
  • 15% from state-owned, oil, gas and mineral royalty revenues, which feed the Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund.  
  • 5% from concessions, shelter reservations, and miscellaneous sources.  

Michigan's General Fund tax dollars provide the remaining 3% of state park funding.

Questions? Call the DNR Grants Management Section at 517-284-7268 or email

Filed Under: Government, State

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