Michigan, NPS team up to promote accessibility to national parks

This Aug. 2, 2003 photo shows a kayaker in Lake Superior off the cliffs at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising, Mich. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore could end up on the back of a quarter a few years from now. (AP Photo/Bob Brodbeck) (BOB BRODBECK, Associated Press)

This past week, the Whitmer Administration announced that the National Parks Service and Michigan are partnering to promote accessibility to national parks.

Michigan is home to five national parks, and according to a press release, 3.2 million people visited parks across the state and spent an estimated $267 million in local communities. Data shows that this much money spent in Michigan towns and cities helped support about 3,770 jobs.

The NPS and Michigan partnership is closing the gaps between many state departments and allowing them to work together to execute new ways and provide emerging mobility technologies to make parks safer and more accessible for both visitors and residents.

“Michigan put the world on wheels and transformed how people live, work and recreate right here in Detroit and today, we are excited to build on that legacy to once again be at the forefront of creating a more equitable, accessible and sustainable mobility future,” said Trevor Pawl, chief mobility officer with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. “We are proud to bring together this first-of-its-kind partnership with the National Park Service to help drive innovation, travel and strong mobility future for Michigan’s residents and visitors alike.”

Below are the initiatives both NPS and Michigan have agreed to follow:

  • Research mobility projects that could have more sustainable or visitor access improvement, including relieving traffic congestion issues and/or improving safety in and around the national parks in Michigan.
  • Participate in community efforts to develop plans for innovative mobility or electrification pilot projects.
  • Identify and explore electric vehicle charging infrastructure projects at Michigan parks to give both visitors and NPS staff access to charging stations.
  • Plan information opportunities to support the advancement of mobility initiatives related to public lands tourism.
  • Engage with the general public knowledge and develop practices that support the state’s goal to enable accessible and equitable electric vehicle tourism at the state and national parks, optimizing the Lake Michigan Circuit.

“Since Hamilton Carhartt began producing overalls in a small Detroit loft in 1885, to one of the first pop-up tent patents in Ann Arbor in 1955, to the invention of snowboarding in Muskegon in 1965, Michigan has always been a leading innovator, not only in transportation but in outdoor recreation. It only makes sense that Michigan is the state that will drive the future of sustainable recreation and mobility,” said Director of the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office Brad Garmon in a press release.


Check out these Michigan National Park stories below:

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About the Author:

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital Producer and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.