With summer upon us, it is a good time to reflect on the importance of our state's recreational opportunities to our economy and way of life. Our distinct four seasons, coupled with a bounty of natural resources, creates a summertime recreational mix that's an important part of our quality of life, as well as important revenue generators for our state's economy.
Boating and Fishing
When you think of Michigan you think of water, Starting in 1954, Michigan's license plates included the nickname "Water Wonderland." In 1965, it was modified to "Water-Winter Wonderland," Then in 1968 the state's nickname became "The Great Lake State." Most recently, Michigan's license plates have included slogans like "Great Lakes Splendor" and "Spectacular Peninsulas." Our place in automotive history may be our claim to fame but our water-dominated landscape is what makes Michigan one-of-a-kind.
We've all heard the trivia. Michigan has more than 11,000 inland lakes and 36,000 miles of rivers and streams. In Michigan you are never more than six miles from a lake or stream and within 85 miles of a Great Lake. This creates over 3,200 miles of freshwater coastline - more than any other state in the country. The Great Lakes coastline is sometimes referred to as the United States' and Canada's "Third Coast." The fishing in Michigan is world-renowned. Detroit is ranked No. 12 by Field & Stream magazine on its list of America's best fishing cities. On Michigan's west coast, Grand Rapids is ranked No. 6. According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan has over 1.4 million in-state anglers (those who fish with a hook). Only Florida, Texas, California and Minnesota have more resident fishermen. Michigan's resident and non-resident anglers contribute an estimated $2 billion annually to the state's economy. Numerous walleye and bass fishing tournaments take place each spring and summer on the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River. Michigan's Au Sable River is included in many lists of the top fly fishing spots in the United States.
Camping and Hiking
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, there are 97 state parks and recreation areas in Michigan comprising 284,000 areas and over 13,000 campsites. These parks attract more than 22 million visitors annually for a direct economic impact of over $580 million annually. Add an abundant supply of private, state and national...