Partners of the DNR Recreation Division are Recipients of 2010 MRPA Community Service Awards

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment's Recreation Division is proud to announce that a group of partners and organizations were recognized by the Michigan Recreation and Park Association (MRPA) at an award ceremony held Wednesday evening, March 10, at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing. 

The following organizations received a 2010 MRPA Community Service Award for their continued support of Michigan state parks and recreation areas, and their numerous efforts towards enhancing Michigan communities and enriching the lives of Michigan citizens:

Detroit RiverFront Conservancy --- a non-profit organization dedicated to the vision of transforming Detroit's international riverfront into a beautiful, safe and accessible gathering place for residents of, and visitors to, the Detroit-metro area.  The Conservancy's goal is to enhance Detroit's image and create an inviting destination through the establishment, improvement and operation of the Detroit RiverWalk.  Once completed, the riverwalk will provide outdoor recreation and green space from the Ambassador Bridge to the Belle Isle Bridge.  William Smith, Senior Director of Finance and Administration, attended the award ceremony to accept the award on behalf of Faye Alexander Nelson, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy President and CEO.

Fox Island Lighthouse Association --- a non-profit organization whose passion is to save the most historically intact and most remote lighthouse complex on Lake Michigan, the South Fox Island Lighthouse (circa 1867).  The association maintains and makes improvements to the island and the lighthouse, provides affordable transportation to the island, and provides a safe haven for many weary boaters, as well as a welcoming place to stop for recreation, lunch or shelter.  John McKinney, Co-Founder, and John Wells, association member and Board advisor, attended the ceremony to accept the award on behalf of the association.

Gander Mountain --- an outdoor recreation equipment retail store, for sponsoring the Michigan State Parks' "First Time Campers" program.  Gander Mountain provided all the camping equipment for this unique program.  The program attracted over 200 families to the outdoors to experience camping for their very first time, and instilled the importance of preserving Michigan's natural resources so current and future generations can enjoy the same experience.  Brian Nimphie, Lansing Store Manager, attended the award ceremony to accept the award on behalf of the Regional Marketing Manager, Janelle Rydberg, from the Gander Mountain Base Camp Corporate Office in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Macy's --- department store, for their sponsorship of the Michigan State Parks'  "Park and Read" program.  Macy's "Turn a New Leaf" campaign was a fundraising initiative to generate financial support and awareness for the National Park Foundation and Michigan state parks and recreation areas.  This program generated a $36,000 donation to the DNR Parks and Recreation Division's Urban Outreach Program and funded the "Park and Read" program. 

The "Park and Read" program allowed more than 30,000 Michigan residents the opportunity to enter and explore a Michigan state park or recreation area for one day, free of charge, after checking out a book from one of over 400 participating libraries across the state.  Macy's was not available to accept the award.  Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, accepted the award on their behalf.

 "I would like to thank these true partners for their continued support of Michigan state parks and recreation areas, as well as their dedication to enhancing and preserving Michigan's natural resources.  Most importantly, I thank them for their dedication to providing outdoor recreational and educational opportunities to children, youth, families and visitors of this state," said Ron Olson, Chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division.  "If it was not for these organization's support, donations, and volunteerism, the Michigan state parks system would not be able to provide these types of programs to get more people to GO-Get Outdoors, enjoy nature, and understand the importance of preserving our natural resources for current and future generations."

For more information about these organizations, visit, under Partners and Sponsors.  For more information about the 2010 Park and Read and First Time Campers Program, being continued by popular demand, or if you are interested in sponsoring a program in partnership with Michigan state parks and recreation areas, visit, or contact Maia Stephens, recreational programmer, at 989-225-8573 or .

"GO-Get Outdoors" is a series of continuous, special events designed to encourage all people, especially families, to take advantage of the many outdoor recreational opportunities that are available in this great state.  For a list of events taking place at Michigan state parks, recreation areas and boating facilities, visit the Get Outdoor Calendar at