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Porcupine Mountains Wilderness receives $1.4 million for infrastructure improvements

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park - the Porkies Facebook

The backlog of needed repairs and maintenance for Michigan’s state parks is decades long. But it’s about to get shorter.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is distributing about $16 million in American Rescue Plan funds to parks in 10 counties.

That includes the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, which is getting about $1.4 million for infrastructure improvements.

Ron Olson, the DNR Parks and Recreation Chief, says the money will be used to resurface park roads, modernize the visitor center, replace ski lifts and make the ski area more accommodating to summer mountain bikers, and to renovate an old lodge.

“Because of our recruitment of employees and the difficulty in the area, we’re going to renovate (the lodge) so we have some opportunities for lodging individuals to help work in the park in the summertime,” he says.

The work will begin this fall. Olson does not expect it to be too disruptive for visitors. He is hopeful the park can get a start on the repairs before colder weather sets in, so it’s ready before busy season next year.

The Michigan parks system has seen a dramatic increase in visitors over the last two years. Olson says visitation has climbed 30 percent and camping is up 25 percent.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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