Michigan DNR seeks outdoor recreation partners, sponsors for 2016

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources currently is seeking support from partners and sponsors for 2016 outdoor recreation events and initiatives. Opportunities include sponsoring statewide event campaigns, creating co-promotional products for distribution, and donating to projects such as the Iron Belle Trail, the Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit and the upcoming 2019 Centennial Celebration of Michigan State Parks.

"Our goal is to build and maintain partnerships that are beneficial for everyone involved," said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation chief. "Partnerships and sponsorships provide opportunities for our parks, trails and waterways to welcome new visitors, for partner organizations to build their reputations and make connections with potential customers, and for visitors to make memories through outdoor recreation and programming."

The Outdoor Adventure Center, nestled along the Detroit RiverWalk, offers several sponsorship opportunities. Open since July 2015, the center was made possible with the support of a variety of partners who helped bring a host of outdoor experiences to the city’s students, residents and visitors. Groups, businesses and individuals interested in promoting stewardship and enjoyment of Michigan's natural resources have an opportunity to inspire millions annually through this hands-on, urban educational facility. More information about the Outdoor Adventure Center is available at www.michigan.gov/oac.

The DNR also is seeking partners and sponsors to help complete Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail, and other trail connections, stretching from Belle Isle Park in Detroit to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula and featuring two distinct routes for hiking and bicycling that together will cover 2,000 scenic miles. This trail, portions of which are under development, builds on Michigan’s nationally recognized trails network and reputation as the country’s Trails State. TransCanada recently became the Iron Belle Trail’s first corporate donor, giving $25,000 for development and maintenance of a portion of the trail’s hiking route in Kalkaska County. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities for the Iron Belle Trail, visit www.michigan.gov/dnrtrails.

The DNR is also open to partnerships that promote private businesses in tandem with Michigan’s woods and waters.  Chateau Grand Traverse created three tribute wines, specifically produced to support outdoor recreation and natural resources. Through a three-year partnership, the winery has agreed to give the DNR approximately 50 percent of the net profits generated from its Wines of the Great Outdoors program. Nearly 1,000 residents have voted for the projects that they would like funds raised from this partnership to support, with Chateau Grand Traverse receiving the direct impressions on its website while seamlessly supporting the DNR.

“This unique partnership has allowed Chateau Grand Traverse to expand our product offerings and reach a new market through the DNR. The program not only encourages residents to support our state recreational offerings, but to enjoy locally produced wines that can pair easily with everyday activities – a long hike or casual picnic,” said Eddie O’Keefe, Chateau Grand Traverse owner/president. “As wine growers and producers, we make our living from the land, so it seemed like a natural fit to support those who use Michigan’s natural resources for recreation. We are excited to continue growing the Great Outdoors brand and to further support of Michigan’s state parks, trails and waterways in the coming years.”

Also available are opportunities to sponsor or host events for a variety of statewide campaigns. Michigan Boating Week in June features water-related programs such as paddling, fishing, sailing and more. Meteors & S'mores is an annual celebration of astronomy that takes place during the Perseid Meteor Shower in August, and the DNR is seeking an official S’more sponsor. Michigan Trails Week, which celebrates the state's extensive land and water trail system, takes place in September.

There are many opportunities for the Department of Natural Resources to tell the stories of its sponsors and partners. The DNR annually welcomes 24 million visitors to its state parks, hosts nearly 1 million boaters on its waters, licenses more than a million anglers and more than 700,000 hunters, offers thousands of miles of trails for residents and visitors to explore, and reaches a wide audience with its communications – more than 500,000 monthly e-newsletter recipients, more than 88,000 Facebook fans and 26,000 Twitter followers, and almost 8 million website page views each year.

Individuals also can join or start a Friends group to support a particular Michigan state park, harbor, trail or waterway. Friends groups support these facilities by fundraising, recruiting volunteers, leading restoration projects and providing educational programming for the public. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/dnrfriends.

Sponsoring or volunteering at a program is just one of many ways to support Michigan state parks. Partners also can post event flyers locally, donate to park projects, donate supplies and much more. If you or someone you know may be interested in partnering with Michigan state parks, please contact Maia Turek at 989-225-8573.

Inside Michigan's Great Outdoors subscribers are always the first to know about reservation opportunities, state park events and other outdoor happenings. Visit www.michigan.gov/dnr to subscribe now.