New fee system pays off for Michigan parks, people

November 14th, 2011

From a Detroit Free Press editorial:

Michiganders who love their state parks rose to the challenge of funding them in the past year. That’s the good news.

The state switched from funding the parks solely through admission fees to asking drivers to pay $10 more for their license plate tabs — which gives them a tab marked with a “P” for unlimited entry into the parks. For people who visit a park more than one day a year, this is a tremendous deal.

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State parks: New passport system brings in more cash

October 21st, 2011

From the Detroit Free Press:

Michigan’s new method of paying for state park operations and maintenance met its fund-raising goal for the first year and is proving to be reliable, the Department of Natural Resources said Thursday.

The DNR said 24.7% of the state’s motorists participated in the license checkoff plan during the last year, just above the goal of 24.3%. Director Rodney Stokes said next year’s goal will be 30%.

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This story was also covered by the Detroit News.

More look to state parks as cost-efficient getaway

April 25th, 2011

From the Detroit News:

Michigan’s 2011 camping season is shaping up to be a big one. A variety of factors — economic gains, higher gas prices and the introduction of the state’s Recreation Passport option for motorists — have residents making plans to head for Michigan’s campgrounds this year. Reservations at both private and, particularly, state campgrounds such as Algonac State Park are up by as much as 18.5 percent over last year.

Macomb Township resident Tom Bemiss, who got in his first camping trip of the year a weekend ago at Algonac State Park near Marine City, understands completely.

“It’s a cheaper way to go on vacation if you stay within Michigan and don’t have to fly somewhere,” said the 48-year-old plant manager. “Nowadays, if you want to get into a decent campsite … you can’t just wait until a month before you go to book it. It’ll be too late.”

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What distinguishes the state park upgrade?

February 12th, 2011

From Tom Greenwood’s column in the Detroit  News:

Q. “I recently renewed my license plate and added the $10 park fee to the renewal. The tabs arrived and I placed them on my vehicle, but there was nothing that I can see that says I purchased the state park pass.

“What distinguishes the state park upgrade from a regular renewal?”

— Tom Barry, Livonia

A. Just to recap: The extra $10 Michigan residents may pay for the “Recreation Passport” replaces the traditional state park sticker that allows them into all state parks, state recreation areas and boat launches.

If you opt for this program, your vehicle registration and license plate tab are your proof of purchase, and your recreation passport is valid during the same period as your vehicle registration.

According to the Secretary of State Office, when you buy a recreation passport, your new tab will have a special “P” printed on it.

You will not receive a separate parks sticker.

I saw a copy of it on the SOS website,, and have to admit the “P” looks pretty small. Check your tab. It should be there.