mParks Public Policy Priorities

As an advocate for the parks and recreation industry, Michigan Recreation and Park Association (mParks) supports government initiatives that enhance quality of life at the national, state, and local level. We believe parks and recreation should be accessible to all, and align our organization with legislation and programs that make it possible.

Public Parks and Recreation Services

Parks and recreation services strengthen local economies, attract new businesses, contribute to the local tax base, increase property values, protect the environment, and improve the health of citizens of all ages. Parks and recreation agencies deliver essential public services and provide recreation opportunities for Michigan citizens.

mParks supports federal investments that provide funding for the acquisition, development, and rehabilitation of public lands and recreation infrastructure.

Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund

Since 1976, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) has provided more than $958 million to local communities and the State of Michigan to fund grants to protect our state's natural resources and to develop outdoor recreation opportunities for residents.

Trust Fund projects create vibrant communities and enhance quality of life for Michigan residents. The Trust Fund is a key funding source for Michigan's park and recreation providers - grants have funded the development and expansion of parks and public greenspace, the creation of trail networks, the protection of our state's pristine beaches, forests and wetlands, and the improvement of park and facility accessibility to ensure equal access for all.

mParks supports the original intent of the Trust Fund. The Association believes any attempt to redirect Trust Fund dollars outside of acquisition and development projects goes against the desire of Michigan's voters, who have repeatedly acted to protect the Trust Fund in Michigan's constitution.

Land and Water Conservation Fund

mParks supports efforts to allocate at least 40% for the State Assistance Program of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Transportation and Livable Communities

At the federal level, mParks supports the re-authorization of surface transportation programs (MAP-21) that enhance dedicated funding for biking and walking. MRPA supports action to ensure that efforts to use Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) revenue as a means of paying for transportation infrastructure do not divert funding from the LWCF.

At the state level, mParks supports policies and legislation to enhance funding for biking, walking, trails, and related surface transportation that will create more livable and healthy communities. MRPA also supports the priorities outlined in the Michigan Comprehensive Trails Plan and the tenants of the Safe Routes to School Program.

Local Government

mParks supports the continuation and enhancement of local revenue sharing. The Association also supports policies to enhance cross-jurisdictional sharing of parks and recreation services.

Public Health

Opportunities for active recreation are critical to the health and wellness of citizens and their communities. mParks supports policies, programs, and funding to enhance citizen fitness, prevent chronic disease and reduce obesity (particularly among youth) through outdoor recreation. MRPA also supports policies and funding to enhance the accessibility of parks and recreation programs and facilities for residents of all abilities.

mParks fully supports Governor Snyder's Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan.

Children in Nature

mParks regards improving children's access to nature as a national public policy priority. We believe that public parks and recreation services are vital to the national effort to provide safe, healthy avenues to explore nature and enhance environmental education.

Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability

Parks and outdoor recreation lands are the essential green infrastructure of our communities and nation - they clean our air and water, recharge aquifers and reduce stormwater runoff. mParks advocates for dedicated resources that will sustain, restore, protect, and expand these environmental assets.

Community Parks Revitalization Act

mParks supports the authorization of the Community Parks Revitalization Act, which creates a matching grant program to help revitalize local metropolitan communities. MRPA supports the authorization of legislation that creates and innovative financing mechanism for park and recreation infrastructure. 

Michigan Blue Ribbon Panel on State Parks & Outdoor Recreation

mParks supports the findings of the Blue Ribbon Panel and the priorities outline in the Panel's 2012 report The Future of Michigan's Parks and Outdoor Recreation:  A Report to Governor Rick Snyder.

Contact Us

If you have a question or comment regarding any of the mParks Public Policy priorities, please contact:

Ann Conklin
Chief Operating Officer

Tim McCaffrey, CPRP
Public Policy Committee Chair
City of East Lansing Parks, Recreation, and Arts