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Michigan DNR seeks input on state parks management plan

The James Irvine Trail at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Greg Rosalsky
The Big Sable Point Lighthouse at Ludington State Park. (Photo: Michigan DNR)

Residents have until Friday, Jan. 20, to provide public comment on a five-year guideline for parks and recreation in Michigan.

Michigan is home to 103 state parks, and a new plan will help guide decisions about those parks for the next five years.

The last strategic plan served as a guiding document since 2017. The new plan will influence management decisions through 2027, and emphasizes the use of renewable energy.

“We have been implementing some alternative energy solutions at some of our state parks, with solar power and also looking at electric vehicle charging stations,” said Debbie Jensen, the park management plan administrator for the DNR.

Jensen said the new plan also focuses on making state parks welcoming places for everyone.

“There’s a lot we can do in terms of providing accessible walkways that can go down to the lakes,” Jensen said. “We’ve also had a focus on providing track chairs that allow people with disabilities to get access to more remote areas at the parks.”

A draft of the five-year strategic plan can be viewed at the DNR’s website. Jensen said the department will be accepting public comment until Jan. 20, and expects to finalize the plan this March.

Patrick Shea was a natural resources reporter at Interlochen Public Radio. Before joining IPR, he worked a variety of jobs in conservation, forestry, prescribed fire and trail work. He earned a degree in natural resources from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, and his interest in reporting grew as he studied environmental journalism at the University of Montana's graduate school.