Celebrating 100 years of Michigan state parks

From iconic destinations like Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the eastern Upper Peninsula to lesser-known gems like Hayes State Park in southeastern Michigan’s Irish Hills, the Great Lakes State offers 103 state parks to enjoy.

Get to know more about Michigan’s state parks in the “Showcasing the DNR” series…

By CASEY WARNER, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Visitors enjoy picnic area at Hayes State ParkWithin these parks, there’s hunting and fishing along with campgrounds, boat launches, swimming beaches, trails and lighthouses.

Whether it’s city destinations like Belle Isle Park and the Outdoor Adventure Center or wilderness areas like Craig Lake State Park, Michigan has plenty to offer.

But before 1917, our state parks numbered only one – Mackinac Island State Park, which was established in 1895 as a gift from the federal government. It had been the country’s second national park.

Interlochen State Park is considered Michigan’s first official state park, having been purchased by the state Legislature in 1917.

At the beginning of the 20th century, when Michigan’s population rapidly expanded as the automobile industry grew, cars became affordable and people could drive from their urban homes to the country or the lakeshore. But with few places available for the public to enjoy these scenic outdoor settings, it became clear that a statewide system of recreational areas open to everyone was needed.

According to P. J. Hoffmaster, Michigan’s first superintendent of state parks: “The appearance of ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Private Property, Keep Out’ signs has been a growing one, all tending toward an approaching era of exclusion of the great mass of our residents and visitors from wonderful recreational advantages offered by the state. Through this, if nothing else, has come the setting aside of tracts of land and water by the people for the use and enjoyment of all.”

A scenic view of forest at Yankee Springs Recreation AreaOn May 12, 1919, the Michigan Legislature established the Michigan State Park Commission to oversee, acquire and maintain public lands for state parks.

To commemorate this historic milestone, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Michigan state parks throughout 2019.

“A hundred years ago, people in Michigan were rallying to protect the state’s most beautiful outdoor destinations,” Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, said. “Fast forward through time and you’ll find that generations of residents and visitors have fallen in love with these treasured natural places.”

The centennial celebration will encourage the public to get involved by sharing their stories and photos, attending events taking place throughout the year, exploring a new or favorite park, learning more about the history of state parks and much more.

Still frame from state parks centennial videoLearn more about how to get involved in commemorating the 100-year legacy of Michigan state parks – and about the parks and their history – at michigan.gov/stateparks100.

An average of 28 million people each year visit Michigan state parks ranging from Milliken State Park and Harbor in Detroit – Michigan’s first urban state park providing a green oasis in the heart of the city – to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, offering one of the few remaining large wild areas in the Midwest.


Keep reading this “Showcasing the DNR” series here.

Photo Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

USPS postage rate increase effective Jan. 27, 2019

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will implement new postage rates for most mailing and shipping products on Sunday, January 27, 2019. Following is an overview of the new prices.
  • The First Class Mail letter (1 oz.) rate for postage is increasing by five cents to $0.55 (from $0.50).
  • Each additional ounce for a First Class Mail letter will cost an extra $0.15 (a decrease from $0.21 in 2018).
  • Priority Mail Express will see an average increase of 3.9%.
  • Priority Mail will see an average increase of 5.9%.

$1.2 million awarded to improve two automotive training labs in Michigan

Nearly 6,000 automotive tech students in Michigan will be among the first beneficiaries of the state’s Marshall Plan for Talent grants. The Marshall Plan was created by former Governor Snyder to address talent gap issues and develop innovative solutions to close the gap.

The Middle Michigan Professional Trades Consortium, a group of partners from industry, education and community organizations, was awarded more than $1.2 million dollars from the Marshall Plan to improve two automotive training labs. The labs will be used by Clare and Gladwin County Career & Technical Education, and Mid Michigan College students.

The grant will accomplish several objectives in CTE Automotive & Diesel Technology labs in Clare and Gladwin counties, assisting with the purchase of modern equipment and technology, as well as hiring Career Navigators to assist students and establishing an educator externship program. Through a partnership with Mid Michigan College, students in the automotive program will have the opportunity to earn more industry-recognized certifications while still in high school.

With the current shortage of automotive technicians, this is a significant program that will benefit dealerships, repair facilities and our customers. Please read more here.

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Welcoming in new MADA officers

As we begin a new year with new MADA officers, we would like to thank Ms. Colleen Chapleski for serving as MADA president in 2018. She put in a lot of time and effort behind the scenes to support the interests of our members in Michigan. We appreciate her commitment to dealers throughout Michigan and look forward to working with her in her new position as MADA past president .
We welcome the new 2019 MADA officers and thank them for agreeing to serve this year.
  • President Jeff Williams
  • First Vice President Steven Brown
  • Second Vice President William Perkins
  • Immediate Past President Colleen Chapleski
Each year this group of dealers works closely with the MADA board and association staff to guide and advise on issues important to dealers. They communicate with their colleagues around the state, speak to government officials when regulatory topics require dealer involvement, help guide association policies and procedures, and stay informed on many other topics and issues. The support and involvement of these individuals is critical to the success of our association and helps us maintain a positive and prominent presence in Michigan.