OUR VIEWS: Recreation Passport dazzles

May 17, 2012


Instead of purchasing a yearly sticker to place on the passenger-side front windshield for $24, a state resident need only pay $10 annually to enjoy the license-plate-based system. Camping fees remained in place, but out-of-state visitors continue to pay $29 annually or $8 per day to visit a Michigan State Park.

It became convenient for drivers to purchase park access by including the $10 elective fee when they renewed their driver's licenses. And the response overwhelmingly came in positive, with many residents purchasing the pass who hadn't purchased park stickers in ages.

It seems like the only complaint concerning the new system is that it creates more work for park attendants, who have to ask each visitor if they have the Recreation Passport on their license, rather than simply waving cars through at the sight of the traditional park sticker in the windshield.

When legislators enacted the Recreation Passport measure, it didn't seem like a wise financial decision, considering Michigan's economy. Lowering the price for park access certainly benefitted citizens, but the loss in revenue — from $24 to $10 per car — appeared alarming.

But something grand happened. It's called capitalism. When the price of yearly park access became more affordable, more people purchased it. Thus, more revenue overall.

Now about one in every four drivers in the state has the passport. With the increase in passports came additional income for merchants and retailers who form their seasonal businesses near recreational parks.

As we enter the second full year of the passport system, it will undoubtedly have proven itself a winner for the state and its residents.



Beach Bum

Love the new Recreation Passport system. Instead of purchasing one sticker for a single vehicle, we now buy the pass for both our cars. I do feel sorry for the park workers. I can't understand why the state can't add a distinguishing feature, like an orange stripe, to the Recreation Passport license stickers so workers can tell at a glance who purchased the pass. Guess that would be too easy for the state to figure out.


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