Mackinac Island State Park Commission

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Mackinac Island State Park Commission
Commission overview
HeadquartersMackinaw City, Michigan
Annual budget$2,950,800
Commission executive
  • Phil Porter, Director
Parent CommissionMichigan Department of Natural Resources

The Mackinac Island State Park Commission is an appointed board of the State of Michigan that administers state parklands in the Straits of Mackinac area. It performs public activities under the name Mackinac State Historic Parks. Park units include Mackinac Island State Park including Fort Mackinac and certain properties within the historic downtown of Mackinac Island, Michigan; Colonial Michilimackinac including Fort Michilimackinac and Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse; and Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park. It is assigned to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Mackinac State Historic Parks is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Over one million artifacts are in the collection. which are overseen by a professional curatorial staff. Archeological digs are conducted,[1] and educational opportunities, including lesson plans, are available.[2] The commission maintains the official Michigan Governor's Summer Residence on Mackinac Island and distributes photographs, media kits, brochures and other promotional material.[3]

On July 15, 2009, the Park celebrated its 20 millionth visitor.[4]


In its present form, the commission was created by Act 451 of 1994 for the purpose of managing these parks. It is composed of seven members—appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the State Senate—to serve six-year terms. In fiscal year 2003 the gross appropriation for the Mackinac park system was $2,950,800; $1,037,600 of this amount comes from the Mackinac Island state park fund, while $76,400 was generated from user fees. The state general fund made up the remaining $1,836,800. Some public critics have proposed that the Mackinac Island State Park and the Commission be privatized.[5] Management practices have been deemed effective in years past in independent audits.[6]

Budget cuts and ‘belt tightening’ have been on the agency's agenda for several years.[7]

The Mackinac Island State Park Commission was created as the governing body of Mackinac State Historic Parks. In 1875, the government land on Mackinac Island, which encompassed 50 percent of the island, was designated the second national park in the United States. In 1895, it was turned over to the state of Michigan, becoming Michigan's first state park. That year, the state legislature created the Mackinac Island State Park Commission to be stewards of the park and its many historic structures. Due to commission efforts, park land now encompasses 80 percent of Mackinac Island, which includes 1,800 acres (7.3 km2). The commission now also manages parks on the mainland. In total, the commission is responsible for a combined 2,500 acres (10 km2) of parkland within Mackinac State Historic Parks, more than 110 buildings and about 1.7 million artifacts.[8]

The chairman of the commission is the former Michigan House of Representatives Republican Leader Dennis O. Cawthorne. Other commission members include (youngest, oldest and longest serving) Michigan Attorney General Frank J. Kelley; Barry J. Goodman; Karen Karam; Richard A. Manoogian; Chuck Yob and William K. Marvin.[9]


  1. ^ Staff. "Discover Michigan History". Mackinac Island State Park Commission. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  2. ^ Staff. "Kids and teachers,". Mackinac Island State Park Commission. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  3. ^ Staff. "Media". Mackinac Island State Park Commission. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  4. ^ "20 Millionth Visitor Welcomed to Mackinac State Historic Parks" (Press release). Mackinac Island State Park Commission. July 15, 2009. Archived from the original on October 1, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  5. ^ LaFaive, Michael D. (May 4, 2004). "Mackinac Island State Park Commission". Recommendations to Strengthen Civil Society and Balance Michigan’s State Budget (2nd ed.). Midland, MI: Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  6. ^ Staff (April 2000). Performance Audit of the Mackinac Island State Park Commission (PDF) (Report). Office of the Auditor General. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  7. ^ Schlehuber, Ryan (February 11, 2005). "Budget Cuts Loom Over State Park Commission". Mackinac Island Town Crier. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  8. ^ "Mackinac Island State Park Commission Meeting Slated for Sept. 26" (Press release). Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries. September 10, 2008. Archived from the original on March 14, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  9. ^ "Mackinac Island State Park Commission". Reinventing Michigan. Rick Snyder. Retrieved July 1, 2014.

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