About $250 million in federal relief funding has allowed the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to spruce up several state parks—just in time to book your mid-summer camping trip.
MICHIGAN—Your next summer camping trip could soon be luxurious, or at least more opulent than you might expect while pitching a tent or rolling up an RV at one of Michigan’s state parks.
This week, state officials announced that a wide range of improvement projects are now complete at four state parks in Grand Traverse, Muskegon, Wexford, and Crawford counties—including new and upgraded electrical systems, paved roads and parking lots, new water jug fillers, more accessible campsites, and other new conveniences for visitors.
Other projects are also currently underway in Bay, Mackinac, and Ontonagon counties.
The funding for the fixes was part of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s bipartisan “Building Michigan Together” plan to invest nearly $5 billion in infrastructure, which she signed into law last year. About $250 million in funds from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was earmarked to repair and improve Michigan’s state parks, as well as to build a new one in Flint.
In addition to making “serious” investments in infrastructure, the federal funding will also make for a “better, safer, and more inviting” experience at state parks, according to state officials.
“With what’s considered a short time frame to efficiently spend the funds for projects of this magnitude, our staff had to hit the ground running to prioritize needs and plan, bid, and execute projects with contractors,” DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson said in a statement. “We are proud to say that we’ve seen several of these projects through to successful completion.”
Among the recently completed projects:
Interlochen State Park
This park just south of Traverse City wrapped up the first phase of various improvements in June, including a new electrical system and pedestals for every campsite in the south campground. Upcoming plans include upgrading the restroom buildings, replacing the sanitary lift station, and a project to enhance the underground water and sewer systems.
All told, Interlochen State Park is set to receive about $3.5 million in federal ARPA funding.
Hoffmaster State Park
This Muskegon County park reopened its day-use area this week, where visitors will find newly paved roads and parking lots and an improved beach road shoulder for pedestrians and bikes.
Watch out: Crews also installed speed bumps on newly widened lanes for inbound traffic.
The modern campground closed just after the Fourth of July weekend, and will be shuttered for the rest of the season while crews work to upgrade water and sewer lines, reconstruct campground roads, and complete a new bike path just inside the entrance.
Upcoming plans include renovating the restrooms and the visitor center. Hoffmaster State Park is set to receive about $6.4 million in federal ARPA funding.
Mitchell State Park
This Wexford County park opened at the end of June with freshly paved campground roads, more accessible campsites, and a smooth new parking lot. Visitors will also be able to find 10 new water jug fillers that were replaced and reinstalled on accessible cement pads.
The camping toilet and shower building was replaced, but it wasn’t part of the federal funding. Upcoming plans include restroom renovations at the day-use area. All told, Mitchell State Park is set to receive about $2.2 million in federal ARPA funding to finish the project.
Hartwick Pines State Park
This Crawford County park recently had the roof replaced on the chapel and the Hartwick Pines Logging Museum’s bunkhouse. Upgrades to the electrical system in the modern campground are set to begin in October. The visitor center and memorial building will also be renovated.
Hartwick Pines State Park is set to receive about $4.1 million in federal ARPA funding.
Other projects under construction include:
Bay City State Park
The Saginaw Bay Visitor Center in this Bay County Park is set to reopen in September after undergoing substantial interior and exterior renovations, including a new reception area, exhibit hall, and science lab. Upcoming plans include water, sewer, and electrical improvements.
Straits State Park
The upper campground in this Mackinac County park is set to reopen on July 20. When it does, guests will notice two new toilet and shower buildings. A new sanitary lift station will come later.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
The visitor center, headquarters building and park road where both of these buildings sit are expected to reopen in late September. Other work in this Ontonagon County park includes repaving parking lots, improving the skill hill, and upgrading the campground electrical system.
Click here to find the latest details on park closures and to read more about the parks projects.
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