Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a plan on Thursday for $250 million to be invested in modernizing state parks and trails to enhance tourism and boost local economies.

The plan will use money from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue plan.

“Tourism is vital to Michigan’s economy and to our overall economic health, and COVID disproportionately harmed our tourism and hospitality sectors,” Whitmer said. “Investments in our public spaces make Michigan a more competitive and attractive destination for tourism, position us as a recreation leader, and are critical components of our seasonal and rural economies. This is a valuable use of our federal funds to help the communities who rely on tourism rebound from the public health crisis. Parks bring us together. They are equally beloved by all Michiganders, regardless of geography or income, race or class or politics.”

Tourism to Michigan parks creates value for communities, jobs and sustains small businesses.

As people found creative ways to social distance during the pandemic, Michigan saw a 30 percent increase in visitors to state parks and recreation areas.

“As the number of visitors to Michigan’s 103 state parks has increased dramatically over the past couple of years, we’ve seen greater demands our park and trail infrastructure,” said Dan Eichinger, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “The funding announced by the Governor today will give our state parks a badly needed boost, while also aiding the state’s recovery through our natural resources and outdoor recreation tourism.”

The investment will modernize, improve access, and preserve parks and trails. Funding will also be used for upgrading water and sanitary systems, preserving historic structures and installing and improving vital park infrastructure.

“Michigan has some of the best state parks in the country that support our outdoor way of life and contribute to our overall economy,” said Bill Rustem, former advisor to Governors Snyder and Milliken. “Gov. Whitmer’s proposal will help to keep our state parks in pristine condition, while supporting tens of thousands of jobs in communities across the state.”

Read more details on the announcement here:

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(1) comment

Bill C.

Unable to accomplish anything truly meaningful, so let's misappropriate funds that were supposed to go to people and spend them on parks. That will play well in November, right???

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