Image of Hartwick Pines State Park

Michigan State Parks Celebrate 100 Years of Memories, Recreation

If you live in Michigan, you’re never more than 30 minutes away from a state park, state forest campground or state trail system.

Our fair state boasts more than 300,000 acres of state park land, featuring 103 state parks, 138 campgrounds and more than 1,000 miles of trails.

Historical image of Babe Ruth fishing at Island Lake State Park.

Babe Ruth fishing at Island Lake State Park.

This impressive collection of natural spaces gives Michiganders and visitors opportunities for recreation, relaxation and wonderment. And it all started 100 years ago when the Michigan Legislature established the Michigan State Park Commission on May 12, 1919, paving the way for the state parks system that exists today.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is celebrating 100 years of state parks throughout 2019 and there are a number of ways you can get involved. Here are just a few:

  • Centennial Summer Fun Open House: This family-friendly event takes place from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 18 at Interlochen State Park, officially recognized as Michigan’s first state park. Be one of the first families at the park and receive a special-edition canvas tote bag, courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
  • Campfire Storytelling Project: These special events will feature storytellers sharing their favorite state park memories. Events will be held on various dates across the state with up to five storytellers featured at each session. Attendees will be welcome to give their two-minute anecdotes as well. The storytelling sessions will be captured for a podcast commemorating the centennial.
  • Centennial Geotour: If you’re an experienced geocacher or if you’re looking for a fun, active hobby to pick up, this interactive experience is for you. Starting May 24, 100 new caches will be waiting to be found – log all 100 and you’ll receive a digital souvenir from Learn more about how to participate here.

Share your favorite memories by uploading pictures and stories to an interactive map showcasing the magic of 100 years of Michigan state parks. Learn more about centennial celebrations at

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has been proud to partner with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and mParks (Michigan Recreation & Park Association) on MI Big Green Gym, an initiative encouraging Michiganders to take advantage of the abundant recreational opportunities that await them in some of the country’s best parks, trails and other outdoor recreation facilities.  

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Photos courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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