These 14 community outdoor recreation projects get $1.9M boost from Recreation Passport program

What’s happening: The Michigan Recreation Passport program has announced its latest list of community projects to win grants to help boost recreation opportunities throughout Michigan, and many of the winners are located in our rural communities. A total of $1,906,100 has been awarded to 14 communities throughout the state in this latest round of grants.

Background It’s been 12 years since Michigan introduced its recreation passport program, which charges an annual fee that ranges from $6 to $18, depending on the vehicle, for access to Michigan’s 103 state parks, 140 state forest campgrounds, hundreds of miles of state trails, and other destinations. While much of the money raised goes back into funding park maintenance and upgrades, a portion has been awarded back to communities for their own park projects. Since its introduction, the program has awarded more than $16.5 million in recreation passport grants.

Winning efforts: A field of 35 applicants was winnowed down to 14 winning communities. They include Croswell, Riverbend Park improvements ($150,000); Gladwin, Trail of Two Cities completion ($150,000); Sandusky, Diamond Trail bathrooms and drinking fountains ($150,000); Alpena, Mich-e-ke-wis Park Beach Volleyball Courts ($150,000); Ford River Township, Ford River Township Park ($83,600); L’Anse, hockey boards and glass at Meadowbrook Arena ($150,000); Lowell, Grand River Park Splashpad ($150,000); Frankfort, Bellows Park development ($150,000); Allegan, Rossman Park improvements ($112,000); Big Prarie, Oxbow Park welcome center ($150,000); Potterville, Sunset Hills Park ($118,600); Romulus, Mary Ann Banks Park Social Equity & Universal Access Project ($112,400); Weesaw Township, Weesaw Township Park development ($135,500); and Casco Township, Belle River Park picnic pavilion ($144,000). 

How to apply: The application window for the next round of Recreation Passport grant funding will open in early 2023, and applications will be due on April 1. Visit the Michigan DNR online to learn more about the program and application process.

Why it’s important: “Every resident who purchases the Recreation Passport is getting amazing value and access to outdoor recreation for themselves, while at the same time helping to improve public outdoor recreation statewide,” says DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “Ten percent of Recreation Passport sales goes to local communities via grants, supporting each community’s vision for what it can bring to residents. It’s about making outdoor recreation more accessible to more people. Whether birding with friends at a neighborhood park, playing with your kids in a new splashpad or enjoying a good book beneath the shade of park pavilion, having these places available is incredibly important.”

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.