August 15th, 2023

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In addition to providing cleaner transportation, Governor Whitmer is partnering with the U.S. National Parks Service (NPS) to grow access to Michigan’s national parks, while enabling multi-modal transportation. Through utilizing small scale electric shuttles, growing EV charging, and providing ‘micro-mobility last mile’ options, the Whitmer Administration will be working with the park service to ease navigation in and around NPS sites.  Executed properly, the initiative will: “replace private motor vehicle trips, alleviate parking and roadway congestion in busy areas, improve access for persons with disabilities, and reduce the environmental impact of visitors’ travel.”’

Michiganders love their parks – local, state, and national – and some 2.7 million visitors generate $380 million in economic benefit every year from the national park system alone. However, our state’s limited, thriving natural areas, ecosystems, and wildernesses face a myriad of challenges from climate change to the relentless encroach of development and natural resource extraction, and because these places are small, special, and rare, they are very vulnerable and their many visitors also have an impact. The National Parks Mobility Challenge seeks pilot projects “to relieve parking lot and roadway congestion, increase the availability of charging stations for electric mobility devices, or offer access to convenient alternatives to private motor vehicle travel.”  Optimizing access to Michigan’s remaining special places, while limiting visitor impact, is a quality approach that we will monitor with high expectations.