Federal grants to fix up 8 Michigan parks—and preserve a big chunk of the Upper Peninsula

Federal grants to fix up 8 Michigan parks—and preserve a big chunk of the Upper Peninsula

By Kyle Kaminski

December 6, 2023

Funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan is being put to work in Michigan to improve outdoor recreation and protect about 8,000 acres of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

MICHIGAN—Several community parks, trails, and sports facilities across eight Michigan counties are lined up for improvements after they were picked to receive federal grant funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced this week.

Several parks or trails in Berrien, Clinton, Macomb, Muskegon, Oakland, Ottawa, Roscommon, and St. Clair counties are set to receive $3 million from the federal government for a wide range of renovations and improvements, state officials said. Another $3.5 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund will also be used by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to buy 8,000 acres in the Keweenaw Peninsula and expand Fort Wilkins State Park.

“We have made the largest-ever investments in Michigan’s state and local parks, powered by funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan,” Whitmer said in a statement announcing the grants on Tuesday. “By investing in Pure Michigan, we support local economies, our fast-growing outdoor recreation industry, and improve quality of life for Michiganders.”

Among the planned improvements: New pickleball courts, improvements to community sports fields, campground development, various trail and park renovations, and more—all of them geared toward increasing new opportunities for Michiganders to enjoy the great outdoors.

Preserving a swath of land on the Keweenaw Peninsula will also help ensure that outdoor recreation opportunities in the northernmost point of the Upper Peninsula—like hunting, fishing, hiking, paddle-sports, wildlife viewing, and winter sports—remain available to all Michiganders.

“The Conservation Fund, along with many other important grant programs administered by the DNR, is vital to expanding opportunities for outdoor recreation by creating spaces for all of Michigan’s residents and visitors to enjoy,” DNR Director Scott Bowen said in a statement. 

Here’s a quick overview of the recent grant awards:

  • (Berrien County) Dickinson Park development: $260,000 
  • (Clinton County) McGuire Park and river access improvements: $157,800 
  • (Keweenaw County) Keweenaw Point acquisition: $3,500,000 
  • (Macomb County) Lake St. Clair Metropark Daysail Trail development: $500,000 
  • (Muskegon County) Bear Lake Park tennis and pickleball facilities: $499,700 
  • (Oakland County) Stony Creek Ravine Nature Park access: $340,100 
  • (Ottawa County) Sluka Field renovations: $293,900 
  • (Roscommon County) Metro Park renovation and development: $410,000 
  • (St. Clair County) Parker Road West Campground development: $500,000

Dozens of Michigan communities that were hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic were also awarded nearly $22 million in federally funded state grants this year to help create new public recreation opportunities for both residents and visitors, state officials announced in October.

That grant program awarded funding to 31 outdoor recreation projects across 25 counties, including for improvements to biking and hiking trails, and renovations at local parks.

Whitmer’s “Building Michigan Together” plan also included a record-setting $450 million from Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act to improve state and local parks.  The Michigan DNR was tasked with spending about $65 million of that larger figure—much of which was already distributed this summer to support a wide range of other improvements at several state parks

READ MORE: Michigan state parks get upgrades with funds from Biden administration

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Follow Political Correspondent Kyle Kaminski here.


  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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