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Algonac State Park projects in full swing this summer

Photo courtesy of Algonac State Park/Facebook Algonac State Park is a 1450acre state park in St. Clair County, Michigan. The park has approximately a half mile (800 m) of St. Clair River frontage.

Closed to daily visitors and campers but trails open

By Barb Pert Templeton

Due to planned park enhancements at the Algonac State Park the park’s day-use area is closed through early fall and the modern campground is closed through spring of 2025. 

Trails at the back of the park remain open, with access from the Marsh Road parking lot and the Bridge to Bay trail is open, but accessible only from outside the park.

The project has been made possible thanks to $4,588 in federal relief funding and includes the conversion of 127 sites to full hookup (adding water and sewer to existing electrical sites, according to Mike Terrell. metro district supervisor for DNR Parks and Recreation.

Blue Water Healthy Living contacted Terrell’s office vie email seeking additional information about the specifics of the work being done at Algonac State Park.

Here are the questions and Terrell’s responses provided in a breakdown of information format:

Photo courtesy of Algonac State Park/Facebook
Viewing of international freighters remains a major attraction at Algonac State Park. 

Blue Water Healthy Living: Can you describe the work being done there this summer?

Mike Terrell. metro district supervisor for DNR Parks and Recreation: 

Campground and Infrastructure Improvements:

  1. New roads for the Riverfront campground.
  2. New roads for both the main entrance and headquarters entrance.
  3. Expansion of the sanitation station from 2 to 4 dump stations.

BWHL: Is entering the park for a day visit prohibited at this time? When will that resume?

Terrell: Construction and Access:

  1. Public prohibited from entering the construction area for safety.
  2. Park to reopen for daily visitation in mid-October.
  3. Campgrounds closed until March 2025.
  4. Trails at the back of the park remain open, with access from Marsh Road parking lot.
  5. Bridge to Bay trail open, but accessible only from outside the park.

BWHL: What is meant by a “modern campground site”?  Are there rural sites and are they currently open 

Terrell: Campground Facilities:

  1. Modern campground defined as having modern toilet/shower facilities and 20, 30, and/or 50-amp electrical services.

2. No rustic campsites at Algonac State Park.

BWHL: Do you have stats about how many people utilize the park during the summer months?

Terrell: Visitor Statistics:

  1. Campground hosts approximately 34,000 camper nights yearly.
  2. Approximately 273,000-day use visits yearly.

 BWHL: Is there access to a beach or swimming area at the Algonac State Park?

Terrell: Amenities:

  1. No beach access or pool at Algonac State Park.

Algonac State Park not alone

The improvements at Algonac State Park are among many that will continue to take shape in state parks across Michigan over the next several months. 

In a recent press release the DNR stated that a $273 million boost in federal American Rescue Plan relief funding was approved by the Michigan Legislature and has enabled the DNR to tackle a decades-long backlog of state parks, recreation and trail system infrastructure and rehabilitation needs. 

The funding, secured through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and aligned with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Building Michigan Together Plan, will also support the construction of a new state park in Flint (Genesee County).

Altogether, the ARPA funding includes the initial $250 million allocated in March 2022 – $219.8 million for state parks program repair/rehabilitation needs and $30.2 million for the new state park in Flint – plus an additional $23 million allocated in August 2023 for Belle Isle Park rehabilitation.

These much-needed enhancements will require temporary closures during construction, but the upgraded facilities will create better park experiences for everyone now and in the future.

“Although you may see shovels in the ground across many locations, there’s still plenty of outdoor adventure to be found,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division. “With 100-plus state parks, 140 state forest campgrounds, more than a thousand boating access sites, historic sites and much more, there is no shortage of outdoor places to explore and enjoy this summer.”

Olson also noted that other ARPA-funded projects will start this fall and into 2025.

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