Saturday, February 14, 2015

Secretary Johnson recognized for support of state parks, outdoor recreation

Michigan Recreation and Park Association presents award

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson receiving MRPA award
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Recreation and Park Association today recognized Secretary of State Ruth Johnson – who once crossed the Straits to of Mackinac in her kayak to promote the Recreation Passport and other initiatives – as its State Elected Official of the Year for her work supporting Michigan’s parks, historic sites, forests and other recreational attractions.

The association praised Johnson for her efforts promoting the state’s Recreation Passport, which allows entry into state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail head and boat launch parking.

“As an outdoor enthusiast and a strong believer in the Recreation Passport, I am honored to receive this award,” Johnson said. “The passport is a great bargain that gives residents access to our state’s wonderful resources – our state parks.

“These parks are truly jewels that we need to protect and preserve. They benefit every resident’s quality of life and will continue to make a difference for years to come.”

Johnson received the award at the association’s annual conference in Lansing.

“Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has demonstrated her commitment to parks and recreation through her activities to raise awareness for the Recreation Passport program and the joy that can be found in Michigan’s outdoors,” said Ann Conklin, the association’s chief operating officer.

“Secretary Johnson is a long-time a supporter of parks and recreation,” Conklin added. “She served as the vice chair of the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission and spends leisure time kayaking in local and state parks. Her efforts to promote our state’s parks and recreation opportunities extend well beyond her personal patronage, and have helped ensure that Michigan’s beautiful parks, pristine natural areas and exciting recreation opportunities will be available for generations to come.”

In 2013, Johnson crossed from Mackinac Island to Mackinaw City in a kayak covered in decals promoting the Recreation Passport, ExpressSOS.com, the Pure Michigan license plate, organ donation and her OPERATION: OUR TROOPS COUNT initiative. The following year, she piloted the same craft from Belle Isle along the Detroit River to again promote the Recreation Passport and to recognize Belle Isle becoming Michigan’s 102nd state park.

The Recreation Passport is featured on the department’s website, in mailings to customers and through the Motor Vehicle Network, a digital video system that displays helpful and entertaining messaging in select offices.

In fiscal year 2014, Michigan motorists bought more than 2.2 million Recreation Passports, generating more than $24 million for state parks and recreational areas. The passport costs $11 a year for cars and trucks and $5 for motorcycles. Passports can be purchased when renewing a vehicle registration. People who buy a Recreation Passport will have two small letter “P”s printed on their license plate tab.

Founded in 1935, the Michigan Recreation and Park Association provides advocacy, resources and professional development opportunities to a devoted and diverse membership of park and recreation agencies, professionals, vendors and advocates. For more information, visit its website at www.mrpaonline.org.

Information about the Recreation Passport and vehicle registration is available on the Secretary of State website atwww.michigan.gov/sos.