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Whitmer plan calls for millions to modernize state parks

groups of people walking along a nature trail in the forest
Bradyn Shock

Michigan’s parks and trails could see major improvements under a multi-million-dollar proposal from Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The governor wants to use $250 million in American Rescue Plan funding to modernize state facilities, many of which saw record numbers of visitors last year.

Ron Olson is the Parks and Recreation Chief for the Department of Natural Resources.

“So we see that people are really wanting to get out, including the UP, and we want to make sure that the facilities are up to standard so that the increasing numbers continue to come and enjoy themselves.”

Olson says the park system is 102 years old. The money would be used to modernize roads, buildings, electric systems, and sewer and water systems, among other projects.

“So there’s many elements of the park system that were built over those many, many years, and some of them are antiquated. They’re not up to current standards.”

About 35 million people visit state parks each year.

The proposal needs to go through the legislative process. If it’s passed and appropriated, park projects would begin in Fiscal Year 2022, which starts October 1.

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