National Wildlife Federation Encourages Equitable Investment in Underserved Communities for Outdoor Recreation Access
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (June 10, 2021) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today proposed to invest $250 million of Michigan’s COVID-19 recovery surplus into the state’s aging park and outdoor recreation infrastructure. The Governor pointed out that record numbers of Michiganders have turned to outdoor recreation since the start of the pandemic for social distancing and physical and mental health, boosting the state’s outdoor recreation economy. However, infrastructure has not been able to keep up with demand.
Mike Shriberg, Great Lakes Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife Federation, issued this statement in response:
“Since the start of the pandemic, Michiganders have reconnected with nature through outdoor recreation like camping, fishing, and paddling, as a way to safely practice social distancing and maintain physical and mental health. This surge is usage has buoyed rural tourism and propelled Michigan’s vibrant outdoor recreation economy. However, it has also put additional stress on our aging and already stressed outdoor recreation and tourism infrastructure. To ensure that Michigan’s outdoor recreation infrastructure can support the physical, mental, and economic recovery from COVID-19 and beyond, we applaud this critical investment proposal in our parks and recreational areas proposed by Gov. Whitmer. We encourage the Michigan Legislature to support this investment and to prioritize historically underserved communities to ensure equitable and safe outdoor recreation access to Michigan’s natural resources and the physical, mental, and economic benefits they provide.”