#MiStateParks: birding, improvement projects, your impact & more

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Michigan states parks news - February 2023

Become a bird-watcher with explorer packs

tree swallow perched on branch

With the spring migration right around the corner and winter birding in full swing, eight Michigan state parks have all the tools you need to enjoy this lifelong recreational pursuit.

"Explorer packs," stuffed with tools and activities for outdoor learning, are now available to borrow at several state parks and recreation areas, including Bay City, Sleepy Hollow, Pinckney, Port Crescent, Wilderness, Warren Dunes, Tawas Point and Waterloo.

Sponsored by Project Learning Tree, these packs come with a compass, binoculars, Michigan species ID pamphlets, an activities guide and more.

To check out a pack, call the park to make arrangements or visit park headquarters (offseason) or the park contact station (summer season) when you arrive.

Planned improvement projects prompt temporary closures

two campers sitting in campsite by fire

A handful of locations throughout Michigan’s state parks and recreation system will temporarily close this summer and fall, but for good reason!

A number of planned infrastructure improvements are taking place thanks to millions of dollars in COVID-19 federal relief funding – while other planned state park and trail enhancement projects are being funded with Recreation Passport dollars and various state and federal grants. Some closures are due to weather-related conditions.

Before you visit a state park, boating site or trail, check Michigan.gov/DNRClosures.

At just over a dollar per month, the value-packed Recreation Passport is still the best recreation deal around

Recreation Passport logo; play, protect, preserve

Next month, you'll see a slight increase in the cost of a Recreation Passport. The moderate fee change is a result of a statutory provision that ensures Recreation Passport funding keeps pace with the economy.

March 1, the resident Recreation Passport fee will increase from $12 to $13 for vehicles, $6 to $7 for motorcycles and $24 to $26 for two-year vehicle registrations. There's a $5 convenience fee (except for Belle Isle Park) when not purchased at the time of your license plate registration renewal through the Secretary of State.

Approximately 97% of state parks funding is generated by user fees (including the Recreation Passport) and royalty revenues; just 3% comes from Michigan's General Fund tax dollars.

Your $2 donation made a big impact!

thank you spelled out with flowers

Thousands of you contributed an additional $2 when making your 2022 camping reservations at MiDNRReservations.com. Here are just a few ways your contribution helped support all-new experiences and amenities:

  • Solar lights inside rustic vault toilets statewide (no more phone flashlight!).
  • Dishwashing stations at 20 state parks.
  • A hammock stand that overlooks the bluff at Orchard Beach State Park.
  • An accessible walkway at Pontiac Lake Recreation Area's designated swim beach.
  • Enchanted Borealis hike events at Seven Lakes State Park and Ionia Recreation Area.
  • Interpretive signage at Tahquamenon Falls and Fort Wilkins Historic state parks, to be installed later this year.
  • Interpretive natural play spaces at Hartwick Pines and Hayes state parks (coming in 2024).
  • Improved on-site signage statewide (coming in 2024).

Peninsulas' official state park merchandise on sale

40-70% off all official Michigan state park merchandise, now through Feb. 28

For five years, Peninsulas has proudly partnered with the DNR to offer apparel and gear for Michiganders everywhere to display their state park pride.

You can now get 40% off all Michigan state park items at ShopPeninsulas.com.

A portion of all sales supports state park maintenance, activities and educational programs.

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