Whitmer Announces $250 Million Investment to Modernize State Parks and Trails
On Thursday, June 10, 2021, Governor Gretchen Whitmer was in view of the Mackinac Bridge from Straits State Park in St. Ignace to announce her plans for critical investments that will modernize state parks and trails in Michigan. This historic $250 million investment aims to make public spaces across Michigan more attractive destinations for tourism and position the state as a recreation haven.
“Tourism is vital to Michigan’s economy and our overall economic health, and COVID disproportionately harmed our tourism and hospitality sectors. Investments in our public spaces make Michigan a more competitive and attractive destination for tourism, position us as a recreation leader, and are critical components of our seasonal and rural economies. This is a valuable use of our federal funds to help the communities that rely on tourism rebound from the public health crisis. Parks bring us together. They are equally beloved by all Michiganders, regardless of geography or income, race or class or politics.” – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Tourism to Michigan parks generates tremendous value for surrounding communities, creates jobs, and sustains small businesses. On average, every $1 invested in land conservation leads to $4 in economic benefit. Investing in our parks and trails will also uplift the surrounding communities, another effort to help Michigan jumpstart the economy as we emerge from the pandemic.
During the pandemic, the state saw a 30% increase in visitors to state parks and recreation areas. Michigan’s outdoor recreation industry supports billions in state GDP and sustains 126,000 jobs and over $4.7 billion in wages and salaries.
Funding will be used for projects like upgrading water and sanitary systems, preserving historic structures, as well as installing and improving vital park infrastructure.
This plan is a dream come true for all recreation enthusiasts across the state. We can’t wait to see the improvements they make!