Monday, March 16, 2009

Stimulus Money May Give Little to Michigan State Parks

Ludington State Park Beach House
Ludington State Park Beach House (photo by sterk1)
based on a news article in the Lansing State Journal,"Must-do repairs top DNR to-do list, " by Kathy Barks Hoffman, Mar 2, 2009

"We have lots of shovel-ready" projects, Michigan DNR spokeswoman Mary Detloff said. "We just don't have any cash to shovel at it.

Most "shovel-ready" projects in Michigan State Parks are unlikely to see any stimulus funds. The DNR has a long list of projects that are ready to go, due to the huge backlog of funding and deferred maintenance. The wish list of projects that could be ready to go in 90 days included 586 proposals totaling $356.6 million. So far, only three DNR requests have made it to the final round for consideration by federal officials.

Highest on the DNR's list is probably the $1 million dollar replacement of a bridge at Warren Dunes SP that washed out last year. This has forced tourists to park and walk a mile to the beach. Most park visitors do not want that long of a walk.

22 million visitors pass through Michigan's 98 state parks and recreation areas annually and contribute $580 million to the state's economy. At ninety years of age Michigan has one of the oldest park systems, and one of the largest. The DNR says that it has $2 million to spend each year on infrastructure and major maintenance, but those actual expenses are closer to $38 million.

There will be no stimulus money at all for big-ticket projects such as rebuilding the historic beach house at Ludington State Park ($1 million needed) or replacing two leaking bath and shower buildings for campers at Holland State Park, plus upgrading the sewer and water lines that run to them ($800,000 per building).

The three Michigan projects that are being considered by federal officials include $3.8 million to control invasive species such as garlic mustard and glossy buckthorn on state and private lands; $403,000 to hire 10 forest fire officers for six months this year and next to fight wildfires; and $100,000 to close abandoned mine entrances on public lands.

It's not that those are not worthy projects, but there just isn't nearly enough money. Currently , camping fees cover about half of the parks budget, while motor vehicle fees cover about a quarter.

See Bill Will Propose New Park Entrance Funding
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

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See Get Off The Couch


Anonymous said...

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Have a great day.. Cheers!!!

cs said...

Very informative article. We can only hope they'll come up with some money for these projects. BTW, thanks for using my photo. :-) Sterk1

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Hi Sterk- Thanks for being ok with my linking to it! Yes, many projects and sites have huge backlogs of needed work.

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