Park improvements

MARQUETTE – Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials have announced three counties in the Upper Peninsula will be awarded Recreation Passport grants for a range of park improvements.

The four grants totaling $148,500 – awarded to projects in Houghton, Delta and Dickinson counties – were part of 19 grants across Michigan which totaled $761,600, allocated from proceeds of $11 motor vehicle permits for state park, state forest campground and boat launch entrance.

“These grants to local units of government for public outdoor recreation represent some of the great benefits that are coming from the Recreation Passport Program,” Steve DeBrabander, manager of grants management for the DNR, said in a news release. “The DNR is proud to assist local units of government by providing funds to improve public access to quality outdoor recreation for their citizens.”

Recreation Passports replaced resident motor vehicle window sticker permits in 2010.

Among the grants awarded, Houghton County will receive two.

One, providing $45,000 to Stanton Township, is for improvements at Agate Beach Park, including a pavilion, upgrades to an existing access road to the pavilion, parking areas, vegetation planting for erosion control and improvements for disabled park visitors.

The second Houghton County grant, which was awarded to Schoolcraft Township, allocates $16,500 for a dozen picnic tables, signing, fencing and a barrier-free pathway at the Grand Traverse Campground and Day Park, located along the east side of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

The city of Norway in Dickinson County received $45,000 for two new tennis courts and a fence enclosure at Marion Park.

The city of Escanaba was awarded a $42,000 grant for renovation at the Ludington Park tennis courts. Four tennis courts and one basketball court will be improved. Disabled visitor access will be improved, drinking fountain, picnic tables, bathrooms and a pavilion will be included.

The 19 grants across the state were scored and selected from a field of 82 grant applications, which totaled $3.2 million. DNR officials expect that in future years, the maximum grant amount will increase as revenue from sales of Recreation Passports also increase.

Application materials for future Recreation Passport grants will soon be available at Interested individuals also may call DNR Grants Management at 517-373-9125 or write to Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Grants Management, P.O. Box 30425, Lansing, MI 48909-7925.

By checking “Yes” for the $11 Recreation Passport ($5 for motorcycles) when renewing a license plate through the Secretary of State (by mail, kiosk, online at or at branch offices), Michigan motorists get access to state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, nonmotorized state trailhead parking and state boat launches.

Recreation Passport holders can enjoy savings at businesses and retailers that participate in the Passport Perks discount program. Nonresidents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($30.50 annual; $8 daily) at any state park or recreation area or through the Michigan e-Store at

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.