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.