State’s natural resources strengthen communities, economy and quality of life
Michigan’s natural resources, public lands and outdoor recreation opportunities are second-to-none and what define and unite the state, providing countless benefits to all Michiganders. That’s why they must be protected and enhanced, announced several organizations as they today launched the public awareness campaign ProtectMI.
ProtectMI is focused on preserving and bolstering our system of public lands, waters, parks, trails, forest, recreation opportunities and our access to them – now and forever. The information and education campaign was unveiled at the annual mParks Michigan Recreation and Parks Association Conference Trade Show in Novi on Tuesday, Jan. 28, with an estimated 700
“I can think of no better place to launch this special and historic effort,” said Clay Summers, mPARKS executive director. “Getting outdoors and providing access to public lands and recreation opportunities are at the heart of what our member organizations do every day. We’re honored to be among the first to sign up and join ProtectMI.”
Bill Rustem, former gubernatorial policy advisor and an avid fisherman, hunter and outdoor enthusiast noted: “Our Great Lakes State provides the perfect inspiration and driver for this effort. In this increasingly divided world, our natural resources unite us as Michiganders regardless of our specific interests, where we live or come from, our financial means, age, abilities or politics – that’s worth preserving and protecting every day.”
Access to public lands is another key issue that Michigan United Conservation Clubs Executive Director Amy Trotter hopes the public will rally around through this education campaign.
“Michigan is blessed with millions of acres of public lands,” Trotter said. “Ensuring access to all user groups in a manner that benefits the wildlife and wild places we all enjoy helps build bridges between hunters, anglers and recreationists.”
Public lands and outdoor recreation opportunities play a pivotal role in strengthening communities and placemaking.
Andrea LaFontaine, a municipal parks leader and trails ambassador, sees this firsthand: “Ensuring continued access, use and investment in public lands and outdoor assets can make a real difference in enhancing a community’s appeal, attracting residents and visitors alike, and improving our quality of life, health and wellness. We can’t afford to not do this.”
ProtectMI is also geared to raise awareness of the significant economic impact that these natural assets provide both local and state economies. Recent reports show that outdoor recreation generates $26.6 billion a year in consumer spending, 232,000 direct jobs, $7.5 billion in wages and salaries, and $2.1 billion in state and local tax revenue.
“Our state’s natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities are one of the keys to a strong and vibrant Michigan and being able to retain and attract the talent our state needs to grow. Just one more reason to join the ProtectMI movement,” said Jason Brown, co-founder and chief creative officer for BeAlive, a digital video entertainment and media company geared toward outdoor enthusiasts.
For Rich Bowman, director of working lands of The Nature Conservancy, Michigan (TNC), the ProtectMI campaign is a way to connect Michiganders and showcase how public lands and spaces benefit us all. “From the tip of the forested Keweenaw Peninsula to downtown Detroit’s waterfront and across each of Michigan’s diverse 83 counties, Michigan has something for everyone and much to be immensely proud of. Together, we can protect Michigan’s special places and unique legacy.”