BAY CITY, Mich. (WJRT) — State parks are being overhauled as part of the Building Michigan Together plan — the largest infrastructure investment in Michigan’s history, and much of it is in use in Bay City.
Clean water using wetlands as a filter is just one of the projects underway here at the Bay City State Recreation Area with the $1.5 million given to them to expand their visitor center and also greatly expand different projects here for visitors and students. to learn more about the Great Lakes Bay.
One million people have visited the Bay City State Park Visitor Center since its last renovation more than 20 years ago and more than 20,000 K-12 students attend each year.
“Well, I really like the rabbits because one is so white it looks like such fluffy snow,” said first visitor Emerson Dill.
“I love seeing all the animals and stuff,” said state visitor Rylie Storm.
By the middle of next year, Emerson, Rylie and others will have much more to look forward to, including an expanded STEM lab with lots of tech and hands-on activities.
The park is located on the shores of Saginaw Bay and is home to one of the largest freshwater coastal wetlands in the Great Lakes, Tobico Marsh.
“We are also updating some of our exhibits. We originally did it in 1996, did a renovation, did some displays. And it was about time, we’re kind of catching up with the days of what we’re doing now. What we’re doing in the Saginaw Bay area and what’s happening in the Tobico Swamp, which is a big story for our park,” said Jonathan Manning, Bay City State Park Interpreter.
It’s also an opportunity to inspire out-of-state visitors to learn about the Great Lakes region and its recreational and economic impact.
We are expanding the exhibit hall to allow groups to come and interact with some of our programs. We have different classroom models that we’ve designed to help these students not only engage with that vision, but also get back into their communities,” Manning said.
Leaders say the renovations will also make the park more accessible to all visitors.
To learn more about the Bay City State Recreation Area, visit the website