More than $100M in upgrades and improvements announced for Michigan State Parks

What’s happening: This past June, we brought you the news that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced $15,962,000 in upgrades and improvements for 11 Michigan State Parks. The Michigan DNR said then that the announced improvements were just Phase I of a larger state park improvement plan and they weren’t lying. Phase II was recently announced and it’s a big one: More than 100 projects totaling a proposed investment of $108.8 million for our Michigan State Parks.

Big picture: In total, Michigan will spend $250 million in state park projects over the next several years, including the creation of a new state park in Flint. The investment comes as part of the $4.8 billion Building Michigan Together Plan signed by Gov. Whitmer in March 2022, a result of funds received from the federal American Rescue Plan.

What’s planned: A lot, and these are but a few highlights. On the historic preservation front, the Memorial Building at Hartwick Pines State Park and the Sessions Schoolhouse building at Ionia Recreation Area will both be renovated and preserved. The beachfront at Keith J. Charters Traverse City State Park will be redesigned and redeveloped. The Spruce campground at Young State Park will be modernized with refreshed campsites, improved storm water systems, and more. Dam repairs are planned at the Bald Mountain, Holly, Metamora-Hadley, and Brighton recreation areas. The cable pedestrian suspension bridge and observation tower will be rehabilitated at Rifle River Recreation Area. And the fishing pier at Waterloo Recreation Area will be replaced with a more universally accessible one.

The DNR created a website for people to keep track of these and plenty other improvements, which is available here. A third and final round of improvements will be announced later this year.

What they’re saying: “Our staff puts in a tremendous effort to keep things running efficiently and offer quality outdoor experiences for everyone, but it has been a challenge, especially as we welcome record numbers of visitors,” says DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “This is an unprecedented, one-time funding wave that allows us to direct vital resources toward a decades-long backlog of repair and maintenance needs.”

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