Discover Michigan's parks and waterways with SEMCOG's ParkFinder app and Water Resources Plan

SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, wants southeast Michigan--and everyone else, for that matter--to know just how special its natural resources are. The regional planning partnership is championing two recent developments that work to inform people of our parks and waterways systems.

Photo courtesy SEMCOG.Released March 22nd, the Water Resources Plan for Southeast Michigan emphasizes that not only are issues like water cleanliness and stormwater management vital to our region, but that water is also a powerful economic driver, as well. The report champions the Blue Economy, connecting quality of life issues to waterfront accessibility.

"We know that for our region, the Great Lakes, rivers, and streams are important to our quality of life, to retain residents and to attract new ones," says Kevin Vettraino, Manager of Plan Implementation at SEMCOG. "What is the main selling point for southeast Michigan? Our water."

Vettraino points to waterfront reclamation projects in places like Detroit and Port Huron, where once inaccessible industrial sites were replaced with popular riverwalks that attract people and help reinvigorate local economies.

SEMCOG also recently released the Southeast Michigan ParkFinder app, available for Apple and Android smart phones. The app is free to download.

The app provides information on 2,600 of the region’s parks, including lists of amenities. Users can pull up a map and drop a pin, and the app shows the different parks nearby.

Users can also search for park by amenities desired, whether they’re looking for a quick visit to a playground or dog park, or an overnight trip with camping facilities and more.

"The state is already doing a good job with tourism programs like Pure Michigan. It’s time for southeast Michigan to promote its wonderful amenities," Vettraino says.

"It shouldn’t be a secret that we have really robust park systems."

The ParkFinder map is also available online.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.