Secretary of State Ruth Johnson takes to the water again!

APRIL 25, 2014Recreation Passport Logo Thumbnail

Paddling to promote the Recreation Passport and

DETROIT – Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, in Detroit today visiting two Secretary of State branch offices, took the opportunity to kayak in the Detroit River around Belle Isle Park to highlight online services at and the state's Recreation Passport.

"This is a Pure Michigan day and a great opportunity to bring attention to the types of opportunities the Recreation Passport can bring, including the state's newest state park at Belle Isle," Johnson said. "The Recreation Passport is only $11 and is available at our branch offices or online at when renewing your tabs."

Johnson was joined by Tiffany VanDeHey, owner of Riverside Kayak Connection in Wyandotte, which offers kayaking tours in and around the area. Johnson kayaked from Belle Isle Park to the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor.

"Riverside Kayak Connection is excited to kayak with Secretary Johnson on our most requested paddle route of the Detroit River," VanDeHey said. "Kayaking from Belle Isle is an incredible experience and highlights the natural beauty of the island, the historical and economic significance of the Detroit River, and a great view of downtown Detroit's skyline."

Visitors to the park can see the fruits of the waterway's restoration efforts, such as wildlife sightings that could include a bald eagle, mink or turtles. Now that Belle Isle Park is managed as a state park by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, visitors who travel to the island by vehicle are required to have the Recreation Passport.

The Recreation Passport grants access to all state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail head and boat launch parking. This access includes many state parks – in addition to Belle Isle Park – in the metro Detroit area: Bald Mountain Recreation Area, Dodge 4 State Park, Highland Recreation Area, Island Lake Recreation Area, Maybury State Park, Milliken State Park, Proud Lake Recreation Area and Sterling State Park.

Johnson is an avid kayaker and owns the kayak she used for the trip. The boat is powered by pedals or paddles and is also outfitted with a sail. The sail features advertising for and the boat has decals promoting the Pure Michigan license plate, Michigan's Recreation Passport, organ donation and Johnson's OPERATION: OUR TROOPS COUNT initiative.

Last year, Johnson took the same kayak on a three-hour, 7-mile trip from Mackinac Island to Mackinaw City to promote the Secretary of State office's online services at, which offers a special Print N' Go feature. Print N' Go allows customers to renew their license plate tabs online and print off a receipt that can be carried until their tab arrives in the mail.

Next up for Johnson is a ride on a Harley-Davidson to promote Motorcycle Safety Month in Farmington Hills on May 1.

To find Secretary of State office locations and services, visit Sign up for the official Secretary of State Twitter feed at and Facebook updates at Online services are available at

Customers may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer-service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).


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Ruth Johnson with Detroit skyline behind her Thumbnail.

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In this photo:
The Detroit skyline is visible behind Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. Today she kayaked Belle Isle Park to the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor to bring attention to the Pure Michigan license plate, Michigan's Recreation Passport, organ donation and Operation: Our Troops Count initiative.