Have you launched your boat on or around Lake St. Clair at a “Michigan State DNR Site” and there’s no one at the booth to “greet” you? Then you see the sign “Recreation Passport Required for Entry.” Do you really need a recreation passport for Michigan launch ramps … and what is it?
For Michigan residents, there are no more “daily” passes at the ramps. You need to purchase an annual pass for $11 (2019). Non-residents may still purchase a daily pass for $9, or an annual for $31. The pass is also accepted at all Michigan State Parks, Recreation Areas, and State Forest Campgrounds.
For Non-Michigan registered vehicles only: The pass is good through December 31 of the calendar year in which it was purchased. BUT, here’s a little kick in the butt for the first year you buy one for Michigan residents…. According to the State… “Please note that the Recreation Passport expires when your license plate expires, whether you buy it during vehicle registration, after vehicle registration at the Secretary of State, or as a window sticker at a state park.” So this means, if you have a July birthday, you’ll need to buy it twice that first summer to get into the rotation if you’ll be launching in the spring and fall.
What if there is a DNR representative to greet you on the way in and you don’t have one? If you are a Michigan resident you’ll have to pay $11 to buy the passport (no daily). If you are out of state, you can choose to buy a daily at $9 or annual for $31.
What happens if there’s nobody at the launch ramp to sell me one? Will I receive a ticket? According to the DNR: “No, you will not receive a ticket if you enter these facilities and someone is not present to sell you a Recreation Passport. We realize some visitors may not have purchased the Recreation Passport yet when they arrive at a DNR facility. You will simply receive a notice on your vehicle that will assist you in purchasing a Recreation Passport via mail.”
Remember, it is illegal in Michigan to “power load” your vessel.
DO You Really Need a Recreation Passport? … Also important to know, the Recreational Passport is only for State of Michigan Boating Access Sites. It is not accepted at the local Metroparks, such as the Lake St. Clair Metropark which offers their own annual entry permit. There are also some city owned ramps around Lake St. Clair which charge their own launch fees, such as St. Clair Shores and Chesterfield Township.
If you plan to seasonally launch your boat onto Lake St. Clair more than once, then it is wise to just pay the $11 annual fee (2019) when you renew your license plate tab. Purchase Recreation Passport Michigan here.
The Lake St. Clair Guide magazine also offers a 2-sided 17×20″ map with 80+ photos of onshore landmarks, including landmarks surrounding launch ramps around the area, tackle shops, fishing locations, fuel, on the water restaurants, and more. Purchase online along with the latest edition of the 100-page Lake St. Clair Guide magazine. Learn more here…