The next round of recreation projects to be undertaken by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will be done using $108 million in federal ARPA funds. DNR Parks Director Ron Olson tells WSJM News the governor proposed using $250 million of one-time federal dollars for parks, and the Legislature agreed. This will enable the DNR to take care of longstanding needs at state parks.
“We had about $260 million documented that we have been keeping track of for a number of years, and we made some progress, but are still behind, and at the rate we were going, we’d never catch up,” Olson said.
Olson says the needs at parks are wide ranging, from roads to sewers to buildings.
“We have 103 state parks, and we have lots of roads, utilities, buildings, recreational structures, all kinds of environmental things, and many others that really need to be brought up to date.”
Olson says the wide support shown by the Legislature for the work shows parks are loved by everyone. Among the projects taking place in this next round of work will be an effort at Van Buren State Park to redevelop beach access due to erosion from high lake levels. Olson says parks visitors can expect some disruptions as all of this infrastructure work is going on, but the DNR does all it can to ensure no park is ever closed because of improvements underway.