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Answers to your questions about the Recreation Passport

The Recreation Passport has replaced your vehicle window sticker for entry into state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail head and boat launch parking, and it's good until your next license plate renewal date.

Quick Facts

How much?

  • $11 - Michigan registered vehicles
  • $31 - Non-Michigan registered vehicles

Where can I go with it?

Where can I get it?

Michigan registered vehicles

  • Through the Secretary of State when renewing your drivers license through web, mail, kiosk or branch office
  • State parks and recreation areas
  • Operation Service Centers

Non-Michigan registered vehicles

  • Annual pass: Online
  • Annual or daily pass: State parks and recreation areas

How long is it good for?

  • Michigan registered vehicles:
    Good until your next license plate registration renewal date (NOT by calendar year)
  • Non-Michigan registered vehicles:
    Good through December 31 of the calendar year in which it was purchased

How is it displayed?

  • If bought through the Secretary of State: It's displayed as a "P" at the top and bottom of your license plate registration sticker and as "Recreation Passport" at the top of your registration.
  • If bought at a state park: It's a window sticker.

I don't visit state parks, why should I care?

Because it protects Michigan's natural resources found within state parklands for future generations.

Click on the topics below to find more answers to your Recreation Passport questions:


Recreation Passport program details


What is the Recreation Passport?

New Funding Model: The Recreation Passport is a new way to fund programs for state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail heads and boat launches and to assist in improving state historic sites and your community parks. By purchasing your Recreation Passport, you can visit all state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail head and boat launch parking.

Proof of Purchase: The Recreation Passport, displayed as two small "P's" on the top and bottom of your license plate tab, replaces the traditional Motor Vehicle Permit (MVP) system in place since 1961 for access to state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail head and boat launch parking. That means that Michiganders who purchase a Recreation Passport through the Secretary of State when renewing their license plate tabs will no longer receive the traditional window sticker. The Recreation Passport proof of purchase is your license plate tab (showcasing the two small "P's") and your registration, where "Recreation Passport" is printed at the top.  The small "P's" on your license plate tab are all that's needed to enter into Michigan's state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail head and  boat launch parking. And, it's good until your next license plate registration renewal…typically a year from when you purchase it through the Secretary of State.

Required for entering State Parks, Recreation Areas, State Forest Campgrounds, Non-motorized Trail Head Parking and Boat Launches: If you have a Recreation Passport on your vehicle plate tab, just drive right in! Passport Rangers throughout the site will verify that you have the "P's" on your license plate tab during their routine checks.  You'll see round, orange "Passport Ranger" magnets on the side of Passport Ranger vehicles.

Purchase Prior to Entering: There is a penalty for entering most state parks, recreation areas and boat launches without a Recreation Passport. (See exclusions below.) However, Recreation Passports are offered for purchase at state parks and recreation areas, although purchasing them at the park instead of through the Secretary of State will be more expensive in future years and currently excludes you from taking advantage of the state-wide Passport Perks shopping discount program. Your most cost-effective option is to purchase the Recreation Passport when you renew your vehicle license plate tab.

Exclusions: You don't need a Recreation Passport to enter Milliken State Park, Lime Island Recreation Area and some other facilities, including some boat launches. In addition, you do not need a Recreation Passport to enter state harbors. For a complete list of facilities that don't require a Recreation Passport, review the Land Use Orders of the Director.

Where can I buy the Recreation Passport if I didn't check "yes" at the Secretary of State when I renewed my license plate?

Michigan residents can purchase an $11 Recreation Passport in the form of a window sticker at state parks, recreation areas and Operations Service Centers during normal business hours. The Secretary of State does not carry window stickers. The only time a Recreation Passport can be purchased at the Secretary of State is when you renew your license plate through web, mail, kiosk or branch office.

Do I need a Recreation Passport if I am walking or riding a bicycle into an area that requires a Recreation Passport?

A Recreation Passport is only required for a motorized vehicle entering the facility. Walking or riding a non-motorized bicycle into the facility does not require a Recreation Passport.

How much does the Recreation Passport cost?

Michigan residents: The Recreation Passport currently costs just $11 for vehicles and $5 for motorcycles.

Non-residents: The cost of non-resident Recreation Passport, sold at state parks and recreation areas and online at the Michigan e-store, is $31.00 per vehicle for an annual permit and $9.00 for a daily pass. "Non-resident" means that your vehicle is registered in another state or province and it is not based on the driver's residency. The price of the non-resident permit is also tied to the Consumer Price Index and may increase in the future.

Do I have to get a passport for each car or can I transfer it to multiple vehicles?

For all vehicles that are eligible to renew through the Secretary of State Office, a recreation passport is required for each vehicle. They are linked to individual cars registration/plates so you would need one for each vehicle. Since the indicator is on the tab that goes on your plate, you cannot remove the tab and place it on another vehicle.

Where do I purchase the Recreation Passport?

Michigan residents: Check "YES" for the Recreation Passport when you renew your license plate at a Secretary of State branch office, self service station, by mail or online when renewing your license plate registration. It's good until your next license plate registration renewal date. By getting your Recreation Passport when you renew your license plate, you'll also receive access to the state-wide discount shopping program, Passport Perks. If you did not check "YES" when renewing your license plate, you can still purchase your Recreation Passport at a state park or recreation area. Your Recreation Passport purchased at a state park or recreation area is good until your next license registration renewal date.

Non-residents: You can purchase your non-resident annual or daily Recreation Passport at a state park or recreation area or online at Michigan e-store. The cost is $31.00 for an annual sticker, $9.00 daily, and it is only available as a window sticker whether purchased at a state park or recreation area or online. Individuals with non-resident registrations are not eligible for Passport Perks program shopping discounts.

What do I get for my money?

Your Recreation Passport provides you with entry to all Michigan state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, non-motorized trail head parking and boat launches, and is good until your next license registration renewal! In addition, if you purchase your Recreation Passport through the Secretary of State, you receive the state-wide Passport Perks shopping discount program, giving you discounts to your favorite local businesses and services.

How long is the Recreation Passport valid once I purchase it?

When purchased through the Secretary of State when you renew your license plate registration, the Recreation Passport is valid until your next license plate renewal.  If you purchased it at a park or recreation area, it will expire when your plate expires.

How is the Recreation Passport displayed on my vehicle?

If you purchase your Recreation Passport when renewing your license plate through the Secretary of State, the Recreation Passport is displayed as two small "P's" on the top and bottom of your license plate tab. If you purchase your Recreation Passport at a state park or recreation area, you will receive a window sticker. If you purchased a non-resident annual or daily Recreation Passport, you will receive a window sticker.

How will park rangers enforce the Recreation Passport when it's only two little "P's" on the license plate tab?

If you have a Recreation Passport on your vehicle, just drive right in! Our intent is to try and alleviate some of the lines when entering a park or access site. When making their rounds through state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail head and boat launch parking, Passport Rangers will verify that you have the "P's" on your license plate tab. You'll see round, orange "Passport Ranger" magnets on the side of Passport Ranger vehicles. If you do not have a Recreation Passport but have entered a state park, recreation area or boat launch, you are subject to a fine.

What if I didn't get the Recreation Passport through the Secretary of State when I renewed my license plate? Can I still get into a state park, recreation area, state forest campground or non-motorized trail head and boat launch parking?

Yes, you can still purchase the Recreation Passport at a state park or recreation area. By purchasing it at a state park or recreation area, you are not eligible for Passport Perks program discounts, which can save you hundreds of dollars each year at restaurants, your favorite hometown store, on vehicle oil changes, on your tax preparations and more. 

Can I still buy a daily pass?

Daily passes are only eligible for Michigan non-registered vehicles. If your vehicle or motorcycle is registered in the State of Michigan, daily passes are no longer available, and you will need to purchase a Recreation Passport. Non-residents can purchase a daily pass at a state park or recreation area for $9.00.

Can senior citizens (age 65+) still get a discounted yearly pass?

The cost of a Recreation Passport will be the same for all Michigan residents, and will be valid until your next license plate renewal. Maintaining one Recreation Passport rate for all registered automobiles and motorcycles will reduce confusion during vehicle registration.

The Recreation Passport is now required at state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail head parking, but often there aren't rangers present to sell a Recreation Passport.  What happens if I use one of these facilities and there's nobody present to sell me a Recreation Passport? Will I receive a ticket?

No, you will not receive a ticket if you enter these facilities and someone is not present to sell you a Recreation Passport. We realize some visitors may not have purchased the Recreation Passport yet. You will simply receive a notice/informational letter on your vehicle that will assist you in purchasing a Recreation Passport. If you do encounter a DNR ranger who has access to Recreation Passports, you must purchase one for your vehicle at that time. At some locations, you will be able to purchase a Recreation Passport via a self-service station.

How do I know if the facility I visit requires a Recreation Passport?

Many state parks and recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, boat launches and non-motorized trail head parking require a Recreation Passport for entry. In any case, entrances to all DNR facilities that require the Recreation Passport will have a sign stating "Recreation Passport Required for Entry."

I already renewed my license plate through the Secretary of State but didn't check "YES" to the Recreation Passport at that time. Can I go back to the Secretary of State and add on the Recreation Passport?

No, you won't be able to add on the Recreation Passport after you renew your license plate. If your vehicle is already registered and you didn't check "YES" to the Recreation Passport at the time of registration, you can still get your Recreation Passport at a state park or recreation area. However, you will not be able to take advantage of the Passport Perks discounts.


Specialty vehicles


Do I need a Recreation Passport for a towed vehicle?

A $6.00 towed vehicle permit is required for a towed vehicle and is good for the length of your camping stay. The vehicle, such as your RV, that is towing the second vehicle must have a Recreation Passport as well. Non-resident vehicles used in a similar manner must have a daily, annual or towed-vehicle permit based on length of stay.

Do I need a Recreation Passport for my moped even though I didn't register it with the Secretary of State?

Yes, because it is a motorized cycle, the $5 motorcycle Recreation Passport will be needed. This can be purchased at any state park or recreation area and is good until your next license plate renewal.

What if I have a specialty plate or another unique plate that doesn't get renewed every year?

You will still need a Recreation Passport. You can purchase the 2013 sticker, which will be good for the rest of the calendar year. This applies to the following plates:

  • Antique car
  • Manufacturer
  • Municipal
  • Non-profit organization (Y plate)
  • Tribal government

Because you are not eligible to purchase the Recreation Passport through the renewal process through the Secretary of State, the Recreation Passport can be sold locally each year at the same price.

If your vehicle is not annually renewed, you may affix your locally sold Recreation Passport on to a clear backing and place it in the vehicle window.

Please note: Beginning May 1, 2014, vehicles bearing the following Michigan specialty plates are exempt from the Recreation Passport:

  • Disabled veteran
  • Ex-POW
  • Medal of Honor

Our school is taking a field trip to a state park. Does the bus need a Recreation Passport?

School buses will be eligible to purchase the ("2013") sticker available to all non-annually renewed plates. The passport may then be affixed to a clear backing and placed in the bus window when parked.

I have a commercial vehicle. How do I get the Recreation Passport?

The Secretary of State will not be offering the Recreation Passport to owners of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of over 24,000 pounds or vans/buses with a capacity of 16 or more. These vehicles, as well as tour buses, will be required to purchase a $16.00 permit, good for that day only, upon park entry. If you have a commercial vehicle without a Recreation Passport and you are using the vehicle for non-commercial, recreational use in the park, you will need to purchase the Recreation Passport at the park.

Will I need to purchase the Recreation Passport for my ATV/ORV when I go to the Silver Lake Dunes?

You will be able to purchase a Recreation Passport at the facility for your ORV. Any ORVs utilizing the Silver Lake scramble area will also be required to display the Michigan ORV sticker along with the Recreation Passport. ORV stickers may also be purchased through the Secretary of State or at Silver Lake State Park.

Do I need a Recreation Passport for the parking areas servicing ORV or snowmobile trials, linear state parks and rail-trail access?

No, you do not need a Recreation Passport for these areas. A Recreation Passport is required for non-motorized trail head parking, but not parking areas servicing ORV or snowmobile trails, linear state parks or rail-trail access.


Metro/community parks


Can I get into metro or community parks with the Recreation Passport?

No, the Recreation Passport will get you into state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail head and boat launch parking. You can not access metro or community parks with the Recreation Passport. Although a portion of Recreation Passport funding goes to many local parks through the Recreation Passport Community Grants Program—awarded to 24 parks, nearly $600,000, in 2011—metro and community parks, including non-state operated boat launches, still need to raise money for daily operations and maintenance.

Can I get into boat launches run by my county or township?

No, the Recreation Passport will get you into state boat launches, state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail head parking. You can not access county or township-run boat launches. Although there is grant funding made available to local recreation agencies through the Recreation Passport Community Grant Program, your local boat launch still needs to raise money for daily operations and maintenance.

The Recreation Passport helps state parks, but what about my neighborhood parks? Will it help them too?

Yes, a portion of Recreation Passport monies goes to help neighborhood/community parks through the Recreation Passport Grants Program. In 2011, 24 communities were grant recipients, given a total of nearly $600,000 in Recreation Passport Community Grants. This funding helps build accessible playgrounds, revitalize recreation areas and install needed park features and updates for visitors who may never visit a state park, but still benefit greatly by checking "YES" to the Recreation Passport when they renew their license plate through the Secretary of State.


Many benefits of the Recreation Passport


Why should I purchase a Recreation Passport for each of my vehicles?

Purchasing a Recreation Passport for each of your vehicles every year is investing in Michigan and ensuring its spectacular natural resources for generations to come. By checking "YES" for each of your vehicles every year you:

  • Fund outdoor recreation facilities and opportunities;
  • Fund state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, non-motorized trail heads and boat launches;
  • Support historic sites within state parks;
  • Provide grants to communities to improve neighborhood parks;
  • Stimulate hundreds of millions in economic impact for local communities from tourism, including businesses in your hometown;
  • Contribute to local economies near state parks, state forests, trails and boating facilities;
  • Attract new businesses and jobs to the state;
  • Enhance the quality of life for Michigan's residents;
  • Assist in the revitalization of Michigan and;
  • Protect our natural resources for generations to come.

I don't use state parks, recreation areas, forest campgrounds, recreation areas, trail head parking or boat launches, so why should I check "YES" for the Recreation Passport?

By Purchasing the Recreation Passport, you:

  • Receive Passport Perks program benefits (if you purchase your Recreation Passport through the Secretary of State, which includes a branch office, kiosk, by mail or online). Passport Perks is a state-wide discount program that can easily save you hundreds of dollars each year at local restaurants, your favorite hometown store, on vehicle oil changes, on your tax preparations and so much more. Your discount savings can more than pay for your license plate fees annually.
  • Benefit from neighborhood and community parks, which are eligible to apply for a Recreation Passport Community Grant. This grant, which can range up to $30,000 for a single community park, helps to improve neighborhood parks. In 2011, 24 grants were awarded to communities throughout the state, from the western reaches of the Upper Peninsula to southern lower Michigan, a total of nearly $600,000 in all. Just think of what this could do for your neighborhood park and your community! A percentage of Recreation Passport monies is earmarked for this grant program, which means that the more Recreation Passports sold, the more funding will go to local community parks. Click here for more information.
  • Support historic sites in state parks.
  • Protect and ensure Michigan's natural resources for generations to come.

How does the Recreation Passport program benefit state forest recreation?

A Recreation Passport is now required when entering state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail head parking. State forest campgrounds have experienced decreased funding. A portion of the Recreation Passport revenues are dedicated to support state forest campgrounds, pathways and non-motorized trails.

Do I need a Recreation Passport to visit a state forest trail or a state forest campground?

Yes, you do need a Recreation Passport when entering state forest campgrounds or utilizing state non-motorized trail head parking. By purchasing the Recreation Passport, you are supporting state forest campgrounds, trails and pathways. Seven percent of Recreation Passport revenues are dedicated to supporting state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trails.


Passport Perks shopping discounts


What is the Passport Perks program?

By purchasing your Recreation Passport through the Secretary of State when you renew your license plates, you'll also receive access to the state-wide discount shopping program, Passport Perks. As a Passport Perks holder, you can save hundreds of dollars each year at local restaurants, your favorite hometown store, on vehicle oil changes, on your tax preparations and so much more. Businesses include larger Michigan companies such as select Dunham's Sporting Goods and small hometown businesses right in your own neighborhood. To view a list of the 1,000+ participating Passport Perks businesses throughout the state (with the number of participating businesses growing daily!), view the Passport Perks database. In addition, Passport Perks provider discounts are featured, two per morning, on the Department of Natural Resources Twitter feed. Follow @DNR for your "Morning Perks."

Do I need to show proof of purchase to receive Passport Perks discounts at participating businesses?

Yes, when paying for the items or service, simply show the Passport Perks businesses representative your vehicle registration from the Secretary of State's Office. You'll see "Recreation Passport" printed at the very top of the registration. This is your proof of purchase when taking advantage of Passport Perks discounts. Passport Perks discounts are only available at participating Passport Perks business providers. However, there are over 1,000 in the state, and that number is growing daily!

Where can I view a list of Passport Perks providers throughout the state?

To view a list of the 1,000+ participating Passport Perks businesses throughout the state, view the Passport Perks database.

How does my business become a Passport Perks provider?

If you'd like your business to enjoy the benefits of participating as a Passport Perks provider, fill out the Passport Perks Provider Application. There is no cost to becoming a Passport Perks provider. Learn more about the many benefits your business will receive when becoming a Passport Perks provider.




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