LANSING, MICH. — Boat rentals, bike rentals, camp stores and food trucks are among the Michigan state park business opportunities currently available to ‘outdoorpreneurs’ through the Department of Natural Resources.

The Michigan DNR this week announced nearly two dozen concessionaire opportunities at state parks spanning from Detroit to the western Upper Peninsula. These concessionaire businesses offer goods and services not provided by state park staff, and are instead contracted to outside partners.

Lori Green, concession and lease manager for the DNR, said that operating a state park concessions service includes perks like not paying property taxes and, in many cases, built-in infrastructure.

Green also said that the DNR is always open to new ideas for concessions at state parks. A new map tool on the DNR’s concessions bidding information website now allows potential partners to see the locations of concessions already operating in a particular state park, to find out where their business idea might be a good fit.

Among the current openings is a unique opportunity to develop Riverwoods, a parcel of DNR-owned land along the Kal-Haven Trail near South Haven, into a rustic/alternative-lodging campground and day-use facility.

According to the DNR, concessioner contracts typically last up to seven years — though in some situations, such as Riverwoods, they may be longer — after which they can become open to a period of competitive bidding.

A list of the current opportunities follows; further information, including sample contracts and bidding deadlines, can be found for each opportunity on the concessions page of the DNR’s website.

Belle Isle Park: Bicycle rental, watercraft rental, portable toilet and handwash station rentals

Grand Haven State Park: Park store, mobile food concessions

Ortonville Recreation Area: Farm activities

Palms Book State Park: Store and food truck concession

Pontiac Lake Recreation Area: Mobile food

Proud Lake Recreation Area: Watercraft rental and vending machine concession

Riverwoods: Lodging, campground and day-use area

Silver Lake State Park ORV Area: ORV rentals

Sleepy Hollow State Park: Food truck and vending machine

South Higgins State Park: Store concession

Tawas Point State Park: Mobile food concession

Van Riper State Park: Beach concession

Warren Dunes State Park: Mobile food concession, watercraft rentals

Wilson State Park: Water park and/or mobile food

Young State Park: Store concession

Find more information here.


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