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July 3, 2024

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Governor Whitmer Highlights Record Investment in Michigan State Parks 

Powered by federal funding, Michigan parks thrive and outdoor recreation booms


LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer highlighted that since she took office, Michigan has invested more than $780 million in parks and outdoor recreation facilities, supporting projects at 636 locations across the state. This record investment includes the bipartisan Building Michigan Together Plan, which was the largest one-time investment in state and local parks in Michigan history made possible by the Biden-Harris administration’s American Rescue Plan.


“Since I took office, we have invested a record-breaking $780 million in our state parks, trails, and outdoor facilities,” said Governor Whitmer. “This funding supported upgrades at 636 sites across Michigan. The projects we funded increased accessibility, improved infrastructure, and supported local recreation businesses. We all love our state parks because they are the best, most beautiful parts of Michigan and integral to our economy. As we kick off another busy summer, I am excited to see how our investments improve the park experience for Michiganders and visitors. I hope everyone has a chance to get outside this summer, enjoy a state park, and explore Pure Michigan.”


Record Parks Investment

  • A big chunk of the $780 million investment in state parks was in the bipartisan Building Michigan Together Plan signed into law by Governor Whitmer in 2022. The plan was funded directly by the Biden-Harris administration’s American Rescue Plan and helped strengthen our economy, increase tourism, and support thousands of small, outdoor recreation businesses.
  • Projects funded by this investment include allocations for a new state park in Flint, construction of wheelchair accessible infrastructure at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula, and improvements to recreation facilities including trails, boat launches, and harbors across the state.
  • The balanced, bipartisan 2024 state budget established the Nature Awaits program, which provides every Michigan fourth grader a free field trip to a state park.


The Outdoor Economy

  • Michigan’s state parks are critical to the state’s economy, as the $12.36 billion outdoor recreation industry supports nearly 119,000 jobs.
  • The outdoor recreation economy saw double digit growth in 2022 (the most recent year we have data) for the second year in a row.
  • Outdoor recreation also benefits local retailers, driving $4.1 billion of value and supporting more than 46,000 jobs.
  • In 2019, Governor Whitmer created the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry within the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to support and grow the outdoor recreation economy.