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Michigan state park fees increase by $1 in March 2020

Maybury State Park in Northville (WDIV)
Maybury State Park in Northville (WDIV)

Michigan state park fees will increase by $1 starting March 1, 2020.

This is due to a statutory provision to adjust the fee based upon the Consumer Price Index, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“The change is due to a statutory provision to adjust the recreation passport fee based upon the Consumer Price Index as determined by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics,” reads a statement from the DNR. “That statutory requirement was put into law when the Recreation Passport funding model was created in 2010 to ensure the funding source keeps pace with inflation.”

If you’re planning to buy one this year, do it before March 1 to save a dollar.

DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson said steady growth in recreation passport revenue has been a key part in helping the department “tackle some high-priority areas.”

“Although we were not anticipating a $1 increase this year, the additional revenue will help fill in funding gaps,” Olson said. “We are continually working on challenges including rising wages, the ever-increasing cost of goods and services and $278 million worth of significant infrastructure repairs and projects.”

Here are the fees increasing:

  • Vehicle fee -- (when purchased with your license plate registration renewal through the Secretary of State) will increase from $11 to $12 starting March 1, 2020
  • Vehicle fee -- (when purchased at state parks, DNR customer service centers (cash or checks only) or at the Secretary of State outside your license plate registration renewal cycle) will increase from $16 to $17 starting March 1, 2020

In 2004, state parks were removed from the state’s general fund because it was believed that camping fees could sustain the then 99-park system. As a result, revenue generated by motor vehicle stickers and camping fees became even more critical, the DNR said.

The Citizens Advisory Committee for Michigan State Parks, created in 2005, was charged with finding a long-term funding solution that would:

  • Address the nearly $300 million backlog of infrastructure needs
  • Ensure that Michiganders could affordably continue using the parks.

The committee ultimately recommended the creation of the model linking motor vehicle registrations to the Recreation Passport.

“Those early conversations and research done by the citizens committee and many DNR employees laid the foundation for today’s Recreation Passport,” Olson said. “These were important steps in the right direction.”

Work on the new Recreation Passport funding model was supported by bipartisan cooperation in the state House and the Senate, and the Recreation Passport bill was signed into law in April 2010. It took effect six months later.


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