Nearly $16M in upgrades and improvements announced for these 11 Michigan State Parks

What’s happening: 11 state parks, 10 counties, and nearly $16 million. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently announced $15,962,000 in upgrades and improvements for 11 Michigan State Parks, which itself is only Phase I of a larger State Park improvement plan. In total, Michigan will spend $250 million in State Park projects, including the creation of a new State Park in Flint, this thanks to 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.

Bay City State Park in Bay County receives $1.5 million to renovate their Saginaw Bay Visitor Center.

Cheboygan State Park in Cheboygan County receives $750,000 to upgrade electrical and water infrastructure at their campground.

Fayette Historic State Park in Delta County receives $600,000 and $400,000 to launch the first and second phases, respectively, of their historic townsite preservation project.

Tawas Point State Park in Iosco County receives $455,500 to repair the historic Tawas Point Lighthouse.

Straits State Park in Mackinac County receives $2 million to replace campground toilet and shower buildings.

Sterling State Park’s Heritage Trail in Monroe County receives $425,000 to stabilize the riverbank in preparation for trail resurfacing.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon County receives $1.4 million to renovate and preserve several key buildings.

A new state-county park in Saginaw in Saginaw County will receive $867,000 to construct parking areas and a park entrance for a new state park already in development.

Waterloo Recreation Area in Washtenaw County will receive $65,000 to install a new fishing pier with more universally accessible features.

And Belle Isle Park in Wayne County will receive $7.5 million to renovate the upper dome of the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory.

Like we said. It’s a lot.

Why it’s important: “Michigan’s state parks and recreation system has experienced a 30 percent increase in visitation over the past two years, while at the same time dealing with more than 20 years’ worth of critical infrastructure needs,” says Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “There’s no question this is a historic investment. It will enable us to rehabilitate numerous infrastructure assets in state parks and along the state’s paved and natural surface trail system, and help the DNR better position our facilities to accommodate current and future recreation trends and welcome new generations of parkgoers.”

What’s next: Phase I projects are currently out for design and to bid. Phase II projects will be announced within the next few months. The DNR created a website for people to keep track of the improvements, which is available here.