Recreation Passports A Way to Retool Michigan Parks
Beginning on Oct. 1, people in Michiganwill be able to visit state parks all year long for just $10.
It's part of a plan for retooling the way Michigan funds the state park system, and comes at a time when the state government is looking to cut funding to many departments and projects, WZZM-TV, Muskegon, Mich., reported.
Employees at nearby P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, located on Lake Michigan, are now beginning a big promotional push to tell visitors about the "recreation passport."
Instead of visitors paying a $26 annual pass for visiting the park, they will be able to pay $10 for access to all state parks, recreation area, and boating access sites when they renew their car registration. Motorcycle owners will be able to purchase passports for $5.
State park leaders believe many drivers will opt into the program.
"I think it will being in some people that have not been to the park before," says P.J. Hoffmaster supervisor Dale Rau. "Maybe they will discover it."
Officials with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment are betting that by reducing the cost and making the passport easy to purchase, families will buy them for multiple vehicles.
"We are hoping to get more involvement," Rau says. "If people have two cars they will register both."
Leaders say 80% of the money generated from the passports will be used to rebuild and maintain state parks. The rest will be share with city and county parks, and state forest campgrounds and cultural sites.
The DNRE says if passports are purchased for half of the state's drivers, it will generate $35 million.
Special license plate registration stickers will indicate which drivers haver purchased the passports. Drivers who do not buy the passport will have to purchases passes upon entering state parks — or face a $100 fine.