Marine News from the Great Lakes

Starting Jan. 1, Purchase the Recreation Passport

When you renew your vehicle registration at Secretary of State and save money

Published: Thursday, January 4, 2018

For just $11 (or $6 for motorcycles) a year, Michigan's Recreation Passport enables Michigan-registered vehicles Recreation Passport logoaccess to more than 100 state parks, hundreds of miles of trails, historic sites, boat launches and other state-managed destinations. That’s just 3 cents a day for a year’s worth of outdoor exploration.

Starting Jan. 1, 2018, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will add a $5 convenience fee for resident Recreation Passport purchases made at state parks. This is the same fee Secretary of State charges when a resident adds a Recreation Passport to a vehicle outside the annual registration renewal cycle.

To avoid paying the convenience fee, customers can buy the Recreation Passport online at, by mail, at a self-service station or in person at a branch office at the time of registration renewal. If a customer wants to add a Recreation Passport to a vehicle after it's registered, they can return to Secretary of State or visit a state park and have it issued for $16 ($11 Recreation Passport plus $5 convenience fee for vehicles) or $11 for motorcycles ($6 Recreation Passport plus $5 processing fee).

An additional benefit for residents whoGroup of visitors snowshoeing purchase the Recreation Passport during registration renewal is 12 months of access and value, as opposed to buying at the park later in the year and missing out on a full year of outdoor recreation benefits.

“To save time and boost convenience, the DNR has always encouraged residents to purchase their Recreation Passport at the same time they renew their Michigan vehicle registrations through Secretary of State, rather than at state parks,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “Reducing the number of Recreation Passport purchases on-site at state parks will improve visitor traffic flow by reducing waits at park entrances.”

Olson said the $5 convenience fee will be assessed on Recreation Passport purchases at all state parks except Belle Isle, because that park’s entry fee was introduced only recently into the state park management system.

“Belle Isle operating as Michigan’s 102nd state park is a relatively recent change, especially for visitors who for decades were used to entering the park without any entrance fee,” Olson said. “The $5 conMan kayaking near Belle Isle Parkvenience fee will take effect here Jan. 1, 2019."

Recreation Passport sales – along with revenue generated from camping fees – are a key source of funding for Michigan’s state park system.

More reminders and additional information regarding the Recreation Passport
  • The Recreation Passport is valid until the user’s next vehicle license plate renewal date, which means it is valid for up to 12 months (depending on purchase date).
  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, the cost for the Recreation Passport for motorcycles is changing from $5 to $6. This change was based on an increase to the Consumer Price Index.
  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, the cost for the Recreation Passport for daily commercial vehicle permits is changing from $16 to $17. This change was based on an increase to the Consumer Price Index. The $5 convenience fee will not be camping
  • Because Recreation Passport purchases for vehicles whose plates are not renewed on an annual basis (e.g., municipal, manufacturer, antique and tribal license plates) are possible only at state parks, the $5 convenience fee will not be applied.
  • The $5 convenience fee will not be assessed on Recreation Passport purchases for non-street-legal vehicles at the ORV area at Silver Lake State Park in Oceana County.


To learn more about the Recreation Passport – including a new video and details on the nonresident purchase option – visit the DNR website at

For more information, contact Jason Fleming, chief of the Resource Management Section in the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, at 517-284-6098 or [email protected]

tags: Coupons & Discounts, Dept of Natural Resources, Lifestyle

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