BACKGROUND ON RECREATION PASSPORT PROGRAM
Prepared by Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, June 2019
- The Recreation Passport program took effect in 2010 and was the result of work done by the Citizens’ Blue-Ribbon Advisory Committee for state parks to provide a recommendation to the Governor and legislature for a more stable funding source for state parks and to support local recreation projects.
- Participation rates have ranged from the initial rate of 24% to the current 33%, which has provided significant funding increases from $5 million to $13 million for state park operations and maintenance and $632,000 to $1.6 million for local recreation grants.
- The proposed Recreation Passport program with the important “opt-out” provision will provide significant increases in funding for both our state and local parks and trails. The most current MDNR figures indicate a 33% opt-in rate and many predict that with the move to an opt-out approach the participation rate could increase to as much as 50% within a year. This would increase state park funding (operations and infrastructure) from the current $13 million to over $24 million.
- Estimates from the MDNR also indicate that moving to “opt-out” it will increase funding for local recreation grants from $1.6 million to $4.7 million.
- The legislation also contains a proposed increase from 10% to 15% in the amount of the Recreation Passport revenue going to the local recreation grants program that helps to fund local trails and parks.
- The latest MDNR Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Survey indicate that the number one recreation need in the state is more local parks and trails, and among that need, the number one local recreation need is more nonmotorized trails.
- Current law allows for the Secretary of State to use up to $1 million for administration and implementation of the program. This money can be used to help educate registrants about the change in opt in to opt out.