Commercial use of state land (includes concessions, liveries, guiding)

Commercial use is defined as any long-term activity, or activity not associated with a one-time event, which involves the buying or selling of goods or services or the exchange or attempt to offer to exchange goods or services for money, barter, or for anything of value.


We currently have open bids for individuals to operate concessions to sell goods and/or services in Michigan state parks.

If you are interested in providing goods or services on public lands, including state parks, trailheads and boating access sites where a concession opportunity has not been advertised, you need to complete form PR-1138-1 (commercial or non-event use permit application).

Liveries (watercraft rental business), watercraft delivery services, RV delivery services:  

For businesses and individuals using state owned lands for commercial operations, you must obtain a permit to do so. Such activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Launching and/or retrieving watercraft
  • Accessing watercraft to provide repair services
  • Installation and/or removal of dockage and/or boat hoists
  • Delivery of RV to a campground.

Please complete form PR-1138-1. In addition to the $50 application and $50 review fees, there will also be an annual monitoring and use fee based on facility impact, resource impact, use level, number of participants, and duration. For liveries, please see the canoe livery scoring criteria for more information.

Some additional information will be required when writing the lease:

  • A complete list of state owned sites to be utilized, including the counties in which they are located
  • The type of activities to be performed on state lands
  • Number of vehicles used to perform this service
  • Dates of service (ex: May 1 through October 31)
  • Size of trailer to be used when servicing watercraft (ex: single, double, triple axle trailer)
  • Size of watercraft to be serviced (ex: recreational boats of 26' or less)

See also - summary of changes to livery laws

Fish guiding:

If you plan to be a fishing guide on inland water bodies, and any part of your guided trip will include the use of state land you must complete PR-8560 (this includes using DNR boating access sites, having lunch or using the restrooms on public land such as a state park or state forest land, etc.).

Pere Marquette River:

No new fish guide permits will be issued for guiding services on the Pere Marquette River (PMR). The PMR has been designated a natural river, therefore commercial use of that river has been capped at the level in place when the designation was enforced.

Contact information:

If you have questions about any of the information above, please contact:
Lori Ruff
989-275-5151 x2006

Hunt guiding:  

In order to provide hunting guiding services on state owned land, you must receive permission to do so.  Please complete form PR-2720 (application and permit for commercial hunting guides to use state land). The Commercial Hunting Guide Permit only gives authorization to have a business on state owned lands. The DNR does not issue permits for the "act" of guiding.

If you have questions about hunt guiding, please contact:
Casey Reitz

Questions: please contact a DNR customer service center