LANSING, Mich. — Nearly a billion dollars could be going toward making upgrades and improvements at Michigan’s state and local parks under a new plan introduced Tuesday, said Sen. Jon Bumstead.
The three-bill budget supplemental would dedicate $968 million in one-time funding to clear a backlog of projects, create jobs and boost tourism.
“More Michiganders and out-of-state guests seek a Pure Michigan experience at our state and local parks each year, yet many of these parks are in desperate need of repair and improvement,” said Bumstead, R-Newaygo, who serves as chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and vice chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. “The primary problem is funding, and the bill I introduced would ensure the State Park Endowment Fund has a permanent source of funding to operate, maintain, and make capital improvements at Michigan’s state parks.”
Bumstead’s bill would dedicate $508 million for the State Park Endowment Fund, which would enable it to immediately reach its full funding cap and fund Michigan state parks in perpetuity. Under the status quo, it is estimated the fund would not reach the funding cap for another 30 years.
Other bills introduced would:
- Address an infrastructure backlog at state parks and recreation areas; and
- Create a grant program supporting local park systems modeled after the successful Recreation Passport Grant Program.
On average for every $1 invested in land conservation, $4 is returned in economic benefit, yet over the past five years, nearly half of the DNR grant requests for local recreation needs have gone unsupported due to insufficient funding.
“The legislation introduced today would provide significant funding to operate, maintain and implement projects needed to address critical issues throughout our state and local park systems,” Bumstead said. “Surely that is something all of us can come together to support.”
Michigan’s outdoor recreation industry contributes billions to the state’s economy and sustains 126,000 jobs with over $4.7 billion in wages and salaries.
Senate Bills 702-704 were referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for review.