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DNR approves nearly $2 million in recreation grants for local park and trail improvement, development

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently approved nearly $2 million in Recreation Passport grant funding. The $1,993,500 will be shared by 18 communities across the state for local park improvement projects, including playground development and renovations, sports and fitness facility development and improvements, trail and walkway development and park improvements.

View a full list and descriptions of the most recent Recreation Passport Grant Program recipients. Counties where funded grant projects have been approved include Alcona, Antrim, Bay, Benzie (two projects), Berrien, Genesee, Houghton, Lapeer, Lenawee, Mecosta, Midland, Ogemaw, Presque Isle, Saginaw, Sanilac, Schoolcraft and Wexford.

The selected projects were chosen from a field of 70 grant applications seeking $7.3 million in local funding, the largest demand to date in the program’s nine-year history. Successful applicants clearly demonstrated projects designed to increase public access to quality outdoor recreation opportunities.

“Recreation Passport grants support local government efforts to offer residents and visitors quality recreation opportunities,” said Dan Lord, DNR grants manager. “Together, state and local governments work closely to improve quality of life and increase tourism in communities across the state.”

Funding for this program is derived from sales of Michigan’s Recreation Passport, required for vehicle entry into 103 state parks and recreation areas, 140 state forest campgrounds, hundreds of miles of state trails, historic sites, hundreds of boating access sites and other outdoor spaces.

The Recreation Passport can be purchased by residents at the time of vehicle registration renewal with the Secretary of State or in person at state parks. Non-residents can purchase online or in person at state parks. Passport sales – along with revenue generated from camping fees – are a key source of funding for the state parks system.

In addition, 10% of funding derived from Recreation Passport sales goes directly to this grant program. The Recreation Passport was introduced in 2010, with grant funding nearly doubling in the past five years.

“It’s very encouraging to see the continued growth in the Recreation Passport, enabling the local grant program to increase,” said Ron Olson, DNR parks and recreation chief. “When people choose to support the Recreation Passport program while renewing their license plate registration with the Secretary of State, our local communities benefit, too. The more people who participate in this program, the more is given back to our local communities.”

Application materials for the next round of Recreation Passport grants, due April 1, 2020, are available at Michigan.gov/DNRGrants.

Questions? Call DNR the Grants Management Section at 517-284-7268 or email DNR-Grants@Michigan.gov.

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