DNR, Michigan National Guard to complete state park projects

State agencies partner to improve state parks and increase accessibility for visitors

A Michigan Army National Guard crew does survey work along the shoreline of Silver Lake in Marquette County. (Photo courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

MARQUETTE — State agencies partner to improve state parks and increase accessibility for visitors

A series of construction projects, executed in partnership between the Michigan Army National Guard and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, will occur at Wilderness State Park from May 3 to May 13.

In the last four years, MIARNG members have partnered with the DNR to upgrade facilities at four state parks and nine recreational areas, saving taxpayers over $1.8 million, while facilitating training opportunities for our National Guard members.

Over 100 guard members of the 1430th Engineer Vertical Construction Company, 107th Engineer Battalion will arrive at Wilderness State Park in Carp Lake next week, undertaking skilled-trades projects to support DNR park construction projects.

Headquartered in Traverse City, the 1430th guard members will spend their annual training repairing park infrastructure, reroofing cabins, resurfacing pathways, paving parking areas and replacing bridges.

A national guard crew uses heavy equipment to clear trees and smooth a road surface along the shoreline of Silver Lake. (Photo courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

“The continued collaboration between the MIARNG and the DNR is a significant step towards enhancing our state parks and facilities so that all Michiganders are able to enjoy the beauty of our great state,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Commending the collaborative spirit, Rogers continued, “Our partnership with the DNR has existed for many years, it exemplifies the National Guard’s commitment to serving our communities. The use of our skilled engineering Soldiers from the Michigan-based 107th Engineer Battalion simultaneously contribute to the vital state park improvements, while allowing our Soldiers to enhance and maintain their skills and abilities, enhancing readiness for future missions.”

In the summer of 2020, the Michigan Army National Guard reinvigorated a decades-long partnership with the DNR through Innovative Readiness Training construction projects at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon County. The state agencies are entering their fourth summer season of construction projects at state parks to benefit Michigan citizens and park visitors alike.

IRT is a collaborative program that leverages military contributions and community resources to multiply value and cost savings for participants. Communities typically provide materials and basic services while military units contribute personnel and training resources. IRT missions produce mission ready forces, civil-military partnerships and stronger communities.

Unique to this year’s training event is the construction of the DNR Gaylord District’s first Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant playground creating accessible parks for all visitors, aligning with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s park improvement initiative. In total, over seven separate projects are anticipated to be completed by the 1430th Engineer Company this year at Wilderness State Park prior to the opening of the park to campers and visitors.

“We cherish our partnership with the Michigan National Guard and look forward to continuing our joint efforts to improve state parks, trails and boating access sites,” said Ron Olson, chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Parks and Recreation Division. “This relationship has allowed us to enhance facilities and infrastructure for visitors while providing valuable training for the National Guard.”

The DNR and MIARNG will host a community engagement event on Monday, May 13 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. EDT to afford the public an opportunity to learn more about the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Army National Guard.

For more information, please contact the Michigan National Guard Public Affairs office at 517-481-7735 or ng.mi.miarng.list.pao@army.mil


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