Your Michigan winter wonderland passport

Even in wintertime, Recreation Passports mean outdoor fun Outdoor fun at Michigan's state parks doesn't stop when the snow starts flying. Parks across the state offer wintertime activities so Michigan motorists who have winter birthdays shouldn't forget to buy a Recreation Passport when they renew their plate tabs or get a new plate, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Department of Natural Resources Director Rodney Stokes reminded residents today. Many state parks offer snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing opportunities, among other wintertime outdoor activities, and state boat launches let anglers find new ice-fishing spots. Select state parks offer winter camping opportunities in lodges and mini-cabins. ''For many Michigan outdoor enthusiasts, winter is the best time of the year,'' Johnson said. ''I encourage people renewing their plate tab to help support our state's exceptional parks by buying a Recreation Passport. For only $10, the natural wonder of Michigan parks can be yours.'' The Recreation Passport allows Michigan residents the option of paying an additional $10 per car or truck, or $5 per motorcycle when renewing a vehicle registration or registering a new vehicle. The letter ''P'' is printed on the vehicle tab of people who have bought the Recreation Passport. The passport allows entry into all state parks, natural areas and boat launches for no additional cost and is valid for the entire time the license plate tab is. ''Whether you enjoy lying on a sandy beach on a hot summer day or hitting the trails on skis when temperatures dip below zero, Michigan parks have something for you,'' Stokes said. ''No matter the season, the interest in the Recreation Passport has been incredible. But people who might have missed the opportunity to buy one the first time around now can get one when they renew their plates.'' People without a Recreation Passport also are able to buy one when entering a state park. In its first year of existence, more than 24 percent of Michigan motorists participated in the Recreation Passport program, resulting in more than $18.8 million for state parks and state forest recreation programs. Out of the money raised, the Department of Natural Resources last month handed out almost $600,000 in grants to 24 local communities for recreational facilities. Motorists can renew plates for individually owned or leased cars, pickup trucks, vans and motorcycles up to six months before they expire. They can renew online at, through the mail or at a Secretary of State office even if they have not received their renewal information in the mail. People can learn more about the state parks Recreation Passport at /recreationpassport. For more information about Secretary of State programs and services, visit www. Michigan. gov /sos and sign up for official Secretary of State Twitter feeds at www.twitter. com/Michsos and Facebook updates at www. Customers also may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424). Copyright © 2011 State of Michigan Published: Thu, Dec 15, 2011