Ask any Michigander why they choose to live here and chances are their answer will include access to world‐​class outdoor recreation assets. Whether you’re a skier, biker, hunter, camper, golfer, backpacker, angler, runner or extreme sports enthusiast, there is a place for you in Michigan to satisfy your recreational appetite, often within a few miles of home. But our impressive and plentiful outdoor assets don’t manage themselves. In order to reap the considerable health, social and economic benefits that Michigan’s resources provide, we must continually prioritize and focus our investments to achieve the greatest return.

To that end, every five years, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) prepares a strategic plan — with extensive engagement from the public — to help shape local and state investment and guide policy and management decisions. The MDNR contracted with Public Sector Consultants to develop its most recent plan — called Michigan’s Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan — which revealed 12 more reasons to love and live in Michigan. Take a look.

More than 8 million

The total number of acres of public land in the Great Lakes state

4.6 million

The acres held by the MDNR in public trust in state forests, state game areas, recreation areas and state parks

3.8 million

The acres encompassed in Michigan’s four state forests


The acres encompassed in Michigan’s 70 state game areas managed by the MDNR


The number of state parks and recreation areas in Michigan. They cover 306,000 acres with about 13,500 campsites in 142 campgrounds.


The number of developed public boat access sites in the state, offering boaters and anglers easy entrance into our abundant lakes, rivers and streams

2.7 million

The number of visitors to Michigan’s national parks alone in 2016 (equivalent to three visits per Michigander). They are estimated to have spent $235 million in the regions surrounding the parks and contributed 3,767 jobs and $333.6 million in economic output.

4 million

The number of visits made to Belle Isle Park alone, making it one of the most visited parks in the nation. (Right up there with Yellowstone!)

Nearly 32

The percentage of people registering vehicles in 2016 that purchased a Recreation Passport, which provides access to state parks, state forest campgrounds, trailheads and state boat launches

More than three‐quarters 

The number of Michiganders who are satisfied or very satisfied with the amount and quality of outdoor recreation statewide. Interestingly, less than three quarters are satisfied or very satisfied with the amount and quality of outdoor recreation within a half hour of their home.

75 and 33

The percentage of Michiganders who feel the children in their household participate in outdoor recreation as much as or more than they themselves did as a child and those who said their own participation in outdoor recreation has increased in the last five years, respectively

326,685 and $10.6 billion

The number of jobs supported and the amount of income generated by the traveler economy in Michigan in 2014. Of the $22.3 billion travelers spent here, 14.5 percent of this, or $3.3 billion, went to recreation and entertainment