Thursday, October 27, 2011

Michigan's Recreation Passport After One Year

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"P" on license plate tabs (photo by jhy)

from a news release of Michigan DNR

The Department of Natural Resources announced on Oct 20 that the participation goal for the first year of the Recreation Passport was met and exceeded by Michigan citizens. The Recreation Passport, an optional $10 fee that can be paid at the time of motor vehicle renewal, is the new funding model for Michigan state parks and state forest recreation programs.

In 2011, the program's first year, the DNR set a goal of 24.3 percent participation by Michigan motorists. Final tallies for the first year show that the goal was met and exceeded, with 24.7 percent of Michigan motorists checking "Yes" to support the Recreation Passport when renewing their motor vehicle registration. In total, the revenue generated by the sale of the Recreation Passport was $18,816,500.

The DNR has set a participation rate goal of 30 percent for 2012. The price for the Recreation Passport in 2012 remains unchanged at $10.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson added, "We are very pleased to partner with the DNR in promoting our state parks and helping to preserve them for future generations." Johnson kayaks, sails and camps with her family at state parks across Michigan. "We have such an exceptional park system that truly contributes to our quality of life."

The funds raised in the first year of sales for the Recreation Passport are split according to a formula in the law that created the program. The Secretary of State's Office is reimbursed $1 million for administrative costs, and the state parks operational budget ($10.7 million) and the Michigan Water Ways budget ($1.03 million) each get an amount equivalent to the revenue that the former Motor Vehicle Permit (window sticker) system brought in averaged over the last three years. After that revenue is deducted, the remaining revenue for 2011 was divided as follows:

State Parks - Capital Outlay (50 percent): $3,043,250
State Parks - Maintenance (30 percent): $1,825,950
Local Park Grants (10 percent): $608,650
State Forest Recreation (7 percent): $426,055
Cultural/Historical Facilities in State Parks (2.75 percent): $167,379
Marketing (0.25 percent): $15,216

"Even if you think you will never go to a state park or enjoy one of our state forest campgrounds or trails, supporting the Recreation Passport is a good way to support your county, community or township parks, "DNR Director Rodney Stokes said. "Ten percent of the revenue is dedicated to a grant program to help improve parks in local communities."

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