Michigan offers a wide range of outdoor recreation activities, from the traditional (e.g., camping, hunting, hiking, cycling, fishing, photography, birdwatching, snowmobiling, and off-road vehicle [ORV] riding) to activities that are seeing significant gains in national participation (e.g., adventure racing, kayak fishing, cross-country skiing, fat-tire biking, standup paddling, and other silent sports and backcountry activities) (Outdoor Foundation 2017). Recreation opportunities can be found in the hundreds of state-owned parks, recreation areas, forests, campgrounds, and trails. Additionally, thousands of community playgrounds, parks, trails, nature preserves, beaches, and more than 30 federally owned parks, lakeshores, heritage/historic areas, scenic trails, forests, wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, and marine sanctuaries provide ample recreation opportunities. Some of these facilities are highly developed with modern infrastructure, and others are more natural, remote places. They are located all over the state, in rural communities as well as in the heart of some of our urban centers. Every community in Michigan is within 50 miles of a state park or recreation area, and even closer to numerous local and regional parks or recreation spaces.
All of these resources play an important role in Michigan’s expansive outdoor recreation system, both individually and collectively. They provide numerous social, health, economic, and environmental benefits and are places that continue to attract residents and out-of-state visitors alike.