Michigan Recreation Passport Goes on Sale Oct. 1

From a DNRE Press Release:

Michigan Recreation Passport Goes on Sale Oct. 1 – Where Can $10 Take You?

The Michigan Recreation Passport will be available starting Oct. 1 at Secretary of State offices around the state, giving motorists the opportunity to invest in Michigan’s great outdoors and protect natural resources.

The Recreation Passport replaces the long-used window sticker system, or Motor Vehicle Permit, for state park and boat launch entrance. The Recreation Passport represents a 58 percent savings over the current annual state park and boat launch window sticker, which costs $24. Camping fees still apply.

To get a Recreation Passport, motorists can add $10 at the time they renew their license plate tabs. Motorcyclists have the option of paying $5. The money will be used to support state parks, state forest campgrounds, state boat launches, non-motorized trails and historical and cultural sites in state parks. A portion of the funds will also be used to support local parks through a new grant program.

Motorists who want their Recreation Passport should check “YES!” on their license plate renewal form or online renewal form. Vehicle registrations can be renewed online by visiting the Secretary of State website at www.Michigan.gov/sos. Motorists can also find the nearest Self-Service Station by using the online Branch Office Locator.

“Purchasing a Recreation Passport is fast and easy, especially when you renew your vehicle registration online, by mail or at one of our popular Self-Service Stations,” Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land said. “It’s a convenient way for customers to take care of business while also supporting Michigan’s outdoor heritage.”

The car registration motorists receive from the Secretary of State will show they purchased their Recreation Passport. The license plate tab stickers they receive from the Secretary of State will have a special “P” designation, indicating they bought their Recreation Passport, gaining them admission to Michigan’s 98 state parks and recreation areas for the period of their vehicle registration.

Revenue raised from the Recreation Passport will be divided among several categories, with the majority of the funding going to the restricted fund used to operate and maintain state parks and boat launches. A portion of the funding will also support operation and maintenance of state forest campgrounds, state forest non-motorized trails and pathways, and cultural and historic resources in state parks and recreation areas. A grant program will also be established with a portion of the revenue to benefit community park systems.

“This is a great opportunity for Michiganians to invest in outdoor recreation, and all the added economic benefits it brings our state,” said Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) Director Rebecca Humphries. “State park visitors generate a $650 million economic impact for our state, and other activities such as birdwatching, equestrian trail-riding, mountain biking and hiking generate millions more. The Recreation Passport is a great way to support the DNRE and our work to make all these outdoor recreation opportunities available for Michigan citizens and tourists for generations to come.”

As an added bonus to those who buy the $10 Recreation Passport when they renew their plates, the DNRE is developing a “Passport Perks” program, partnering with Michigan retailers who have agreed to offer special discounts and deals when drivers show their car registration as proof of purchase for the Recreation Passport. Businesses interested in participating in the Passport Perks to support outdoor recreation in Michigan can contact Maia Stephens, DNRE recreation programmer, at 989-225-8573 for more information.

“Through the Passport Perks program, motorists who check ‘YES!’ for outdoor recreation can get their $10 back many times over through the special discounts and deals from the businesses who are supporting this effort,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNRE Recreation Division. “We are grateful to the businesses, like Dunham’s Sporting Goods, Gander Mountain, and many local retailers who are supporting the Recreation Passport.”

Revenues raised by the Recreation Passport will help maintain and operate many of Michigan’s parks, campgrounds and trail systems that have lost General Fund support over the last several years.

“Maintaining recreational trails in the largest dedicated state forest system in the country has been a challenge in the last decade as General Fund support for forest recreation programs has been cut,” said Lynne Boyd, chief of the DNRE Forest Management Division. “The Recreation Passport provides those who go hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, bird watching and cross-country skiing on our state forest trails a way to support our work to keep non-motorized trails and pathways available and accessible.”

While purchasing a Recreation Passport when renewing vehicle registration is the most convenient option, the DNRE points out that any Michigan resident who forgets to do so can still buy a Recreation Passport sticker for their vehicle at a state park or recreation area.  The cost for 2011 will be $10 for a vehicle or $5 for a motorcycle.

Non-Michigan residents will purchase a “non-resident Recreation Passport” to gain entrance to Michigan state parks and recreation areas. Annual permits are $29 and daily permits are $8.

Olson reminded drivers that if their vehicle registration month is earlier than October, they can still enjoy Michigan state parks and recreation areas until they renew their vehicle registration in 2011 without paying an entrance fee.

“If you have a July birthday and are visiting a state park in May, our staff will recognize from your license plate that you haven’t renewed your registration yet, and there will be no entrance fee for you,” Olson said

For more information on the Recreation Passport, including Frequently Asked Questions, information about Passport Perks and downloadable media tools, visit the Passport’s website at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is committed to the conservation, protection, management, and accessible use and enjoyment of the state’s environment, natural resources, and related economic interests for current and future generations. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/dnre.

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