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Kent, Allegan, Newaygo & Berrien counties receive park grants

Parks in Kent, Allegan, Newaygo and Berrien counties secured funding from the Recreation Passport program.
Credit: 13 OYS
Ada Township plans a major expansion of their trail system.

MICHIGAN, USA — Fourteen Michigan communities will see upgrades to parks and trails thanks to more than $1.9 million in Recreation Passport grants.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the state funding will be going to 14 communities.

Four parks in West Michigan received grants, including Kent, Allegan, Newaygo and Berrien counties.

  • Lowell Charter Township—Grand River Park Splashpad, $150,000 
  • City of Allegan—Rossman Park Improvements, $112,000   
  • Big Prairie Township—New Welcome Center for Oxbow Park, $150,000   
  • Weesaw Township—Weesaw Township Park Development, $135,500  

It's all part of the recreation passport program that started 12 years ago in an effort to boost visitors and funding for Michigan state parks. 

Michigan’s Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into Michigan’s 103 state parks, 140 state forest campgrounds, hundreds of miles of state trails, historic sites, hundreds of boating access sites and other outdoor spaces.

More than a decade later it is also delivering more funding to improve local and community parks and trails across the state. 

“Every resident who purchases the Recreation Passport is getting amazing value and access to outdoor recreation for themselves, while at the same time helping to improve public outdoor recreation statewide,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. 

“Ten percent of Recreation Passport sales goes to local communities via grants, supporting each community’s vision for what it can bring to residents. It’s about making outdoor recreation more accessible to more people. Whether birding with friends at a neighborhood park, playing with your kids in a new splashpad or enjoying a good book beneath the shade of park pavilion, having these places available is incredibly important.”

Michigan officials say on average, every $1 invested in land conservation leads to $4 in economic benefit for the local community through job growth and tourism. 

The program has awarded more than $16.5 million statewide. It's funded from 10% of the passport revenues, with the remaining funding supporting operations, infrastructure and historic and cultural assets in the state parks and recreation system. 

“Recreation Passports help more Michiganders explore Pure Michigan and secure critical resources to improve state, local, and community parks,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Michigan has always been a four-season recreation destination, and the enhancements made possible through Recreation Passport grants help ensure residents and visitors of all abilities can enjoy a rich variety of activities and experiences every day of the year.”  

Counties approved for the funding include Allegan, Alpena, Baraga, Benzie, Berrien, Delta, Eaton, Gladwin, Kent, Newaygo, Sanilac, St. Clair and Wayne counties. 

Selected projects were scored and selected from a field of 35 grant applications seeking $4.4 million in local funding. Successful applicants clearly demonstrated projects designed to broaden public access to quality outdoor recreation opportunities. 

The application period for the next round of Recreation Passport grant funding opens in early 2023, with applications due April 1. Learn more about the program and application materials at Michigan.gov/DNRGrants


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