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Categorized | Outdoors

DNRE welcomes comment on recreation passport program

On Oct. 1, 2010, the $10 Recreation Passport replaced the state’s annual $24 motor vehicle permit or window sticker that was required for a Michigan-registered vehicle to enter a state park or recreation area. Now, to enter a state park, a Michigan resident simply needs to check “YES” for the Recreation Passport when renewing his or her annual license plate registration and will receive a plate tag with a Recreation Passport designation.
The Recreation Passport will help fund Michigan’s state parks, state recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, non-motorized trails and pathways, cultural and historic resources in state parks, and local parks. Ten percent of the funds collected from the Recreation Passport will go directly into the Local Public Recreation Facilities Fund to be used for the development and improvement of public recreation facilities for local units of government.
“This local recreation grant program follows in the tradition of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund by providing grants that will help local government improve public recreation in their communities,” said Rodney Stokes, chief of the DNRE’s Office of Science and Policy. “These are important dollars that can make a huge difference in bringing quality recreation opportunities to the public.”
The level of available funding in the Local Public Recreation Facilities Fund grant program is dependent upon the success of the Recreation Passport. Under the proposed program, individual grant size would range from $7,500 to $100,000, with a required local match of 25 percent of the total project cost.
The DNRE is accepting public comments through Dec. 10, after which the department will provide a response to comments and revise the proposed grant program to address any concerns. A second period of public comment (on the revised program) will run from Jan. 3 to Feb. 11. A public hearing will be held at the Feb. 10 meeting of the Natural Resources Commission’s Michigan State Parks Advisory Committee meeting. Adoption of the official program is expected in late February. The DNRE anticipates accepting applications for the grant program beginning April 1, 2011.
The Local Public Recreation Facilities Fund grant program draft is available on the DNRE website at www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants. Public comments may be sent to cherryj3@michigan.gov.

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