Who, what, where?

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Nearly 100 years ago, people in Michigan were rallying to protect the state’s most beautiful outdoor destinations. On May 12, 1919, the Michigan Legislature established the Michigan State Park Commission, paving the way for Michigan's state parks system. The commission was established to oversee, acquire and maintain public lands for state parks.

Fast forward through time and you’ll find that generations of residents and visitors have fallen in love with these treasured natural places. Today, the Michigan state park system includes 103 state parks, as well as the many campgrounds, boat launches, swimming beaches, fishing piers, trails, lighthouses and other natural features and recreation infrastructure found in those parks.

The state park system spans two peninsulas and is home to state parks ranging from Milliken State Park and Harbor in Detroit – Michigan’s first urban state park providing a green oasis in the heart of the city – to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, nestled in “the Porkies” and offering one of the few remaining large wild areas in the Midwest.

State parks play a role in helping visitors connect physically and emotionally to all of Michigan’s natural resources and recreation outdoor opportunities, including inland lakes, miles and miles of shoreline, lush forests and a variety of fish and wildlife species.

To celebrate this historic milestone, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Michigan state parks throughout 2019. The centennial celebration will encourage the public to get involved by sharing their stories and photos, attending any number of special events taking place throughout the year, exploring a new (or favorite) park, learning more about the history of state parks and much more.

Other facts

  • The official 100-year birthday of Michigan state parks is May 12, 2019.
  • There are 103 state parks managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks & Recreation Division and supported collaboratively by other DNR program areas on efforts to improve habitat, create quality educational programming, fight invasive species and more.
  • The state parks are visited by an average of 28 million people each year.
  • The DNR is planning a yearlong celebration with opportunities to share your memories, enjoy special events and explore state park destinations through podcasts, historical accounts, videos, geocaching and much more. The public is invited to help commemorate our 100-year legacy of Michigan state parks.
  • Stay up to date on centennial news and information – including special state park and centennial merchandise, community events, historical stories, featured videos and more – by visiting michigan.gov/stateparks100 throughout the year.