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DNR director hopes Legislature will move forward on park improvement funds

Michigan DNR
Michigan DNR

Eichinger says the money would improve Michigan’s economy, especially in rural areas that depend on tourism.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources director Dan Eichinger is hoping lawmakers move forward soon with plans to update state parks and recreation areas.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to use 250-million dollars in federal relief funds to address a years-long backlog of infrastructure projects in the state parks system.

Eichinger says parks have seen a nearly 30-percent increase in visitors during the pandemic.

“So in 2019, before the pandemic, in a typical year we would welcome 26, 27 million people through the front gate. In 2020 and 2021 that number moved up to like 35, 36 million people through the front gates.”

A plan to designate another 150-million dollars in federal funding for local parks and recreation areas also hangs in the balance.

Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.