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Rest Area Permits

Schwartz Creek Rest Area
Department of Transportation

Rest Area Permits

MDOT receives rest area permit applications from individuals, and non profit organizations. These applications, to operate within the state highway right of way, include the following types of facilities or operations.

Non-Holiday Coffee Breaks

Under certain circumstances, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) permits non-profit organizations to utilize highway rest areas, roadside park facilities and scenic turnouts for the purpose of dispensing refreshments to motorists. Requests to use rest area facilities for non-holiday coffee breaks have no association with the Operation CARE Program.

Applicants must submit an individual permit application package through the Construction Permit System (CPS) with the following:

  • Proof of your organization's non-profit status must be included
  • A permit fee is required and must be submitted prior to issuing the permit
  • Permits shall be granted only in rest areas where the Commission for the Blind does
    not have vending machines
  • Allowable permitting dates are between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day
    weekend, excluding the July 4th weekend, from Friday noon to Sunday midnight

Operation Care

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), under certain circumstances, permits non-profit organizations to utilize highway rest areas, roadside park facilities and scenic turnouts for the purposes of dispensing refreshments to motorists.

Requests sponsored by the Michigan State Police (MSP) and MDOT are part of the Operation CARE program. The MSP initially screens each permit application. Upon receipt of each permit application from the MSP, MDOT may issue a permit. These permitted activities generally occur over the 3 major holidays each year: Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Permit applicants may request the use of any rest area or roadside park.

Eligibility Requirements

In order for an organization to be eligible for a permit to use an MDOT rest area, roadside park, or scenic turnout facility, for the purpose of serving non-alcoholic refreshments to the motoring public, the following conditions shall be met:

  • A permit may only be granted to an approved non-profit, charitable, or service-type organization undertaking public service-type work. This includes governmental agencies. Permits shall not be granted to individuals or to organizations whose purpose is to make a profit or raise monies for anything other than public service.
  • The use of the facility shall be for the express purpose of improving the safety of highway travel and transportation. The use shall not be for the purpose of raising funds. However, it is recognized that donations offered, without solicitation, may be used for the purpose of supporting the public service activities of that organization.
  • In order for an organization to be considered an eligible permit applicant, for the use of MDOT roadside facilities, it shall demonstrate a continued effort of public service. Compliance with the standard conditions of MDOT for the use of those facilities shall be required.

Permit Requirements

Permit issuance is subject to the following:

  • Each permit duration shall not extend beyond the current calendar year.
  • The collection of donations shall not be prohibited, but shall conform to the provisions of the standard conditions.
  • No insurance shall be required from the permit applicant on behalf of MDOT in these activities. As a condition of the permit, it shall be noted that the permit actually provides that the permit applicant “save harmless” MDOT. Nevertheless, an organization may voluntarily determine that it is in their best interest to name MDOT as a protected insured.

Distribution of Travel Related Information at MDOT Rest Areas and Roadside Parks

Permits may be issued by MDOT’s Transportation Service Center (TSC) Office’s to nonprofit tourism or economic development organizations wishing to distribute tourism-related information at rest areas and roadside parks. An annual permit shall be used unless it is a one-time distribution only. No fees are charged for these permits.

Permits may be denied if the rest area/roadside park is at, or near, capacity or has other operational issues that shall conflict with this service.

Please refer to MDOT’s Special Conditions for Distribution of Travel Related Information form (Form 2458) for additional information. 

MDOT permits these types of facilities or operations in a manner which does not significantly compromise the integrity of state highway right of way systems, while simultaneously providing assurance to the general traveling public for the safest transportation environment possible.