This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Michigan state parks system. On May 12, 1919, the Michigan Legislature established the Michigan State Park Commission to oversee, acquire, and maintain public lands for state parks.
The first official Michigan state park (Interlochen State Park) was transferred to the commission in 1920. According to the Biennial Report of the Public Domain Commission from 1917 to 1918, Interlochen was developed as a park in order to "preserve to posterity at least one remnant of the virgin pine forest with which Michigan was so lavishly endowed by nature, where future generations may go and view the glories of the pine forest in all its pristine grandeur."
Today, 103 state parks are scattered across Michigan, from the sandy shores of the Saugatuck Dunes State Park to the picturesque caves and rock formations of Mackinac Island. The commission s original intent -- to protect and share the beauty of Michigan s natural wilderness with future generations -- continues with around 28 million total visitors to the parks each year.
To commemorate the Michigan state park's 100th anniversary, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has planned a yearlong centennial celebration that includes special events, podcasts, geocaching, and more.
As a part of the 100th anniversary festivities, Envirologic is proud to sponsor the Campfire Storytelling Project event series. The purpose of this series is to share memorable state park stories and celebrate the impact the parks have had on visitors over the past 100 years. At each event, five seasoned storytellers will share their stories around a large campfire; afterwards, attendees will be encouraged to share their own memories and experiences. The series will take place over five evenings in state park locations across Michigan. For more information about the Campfire Storytelling Project event series, please visit the Department of Natural Resources' website.
Schedule of events:
May 21st (Tuesday) - Woldumar Nature Center in Lansing
June 22nd (Saturday) - Interlochen State Park in Interlochen
July 20th (Saturday) - Van Riper State Park in Champion
August. 17th (Saturday) - Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit
September 21st (Saturday) - Yankee Springs Recreation Area in Middleville