Bills to modernize Michigan’s Civilian Conservation Corps pass the Senate

LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan Senate voted out bipartisan legislation Wednesday to revive and modernize Michigan’s Civilian Conservation Corps (MCCC).

Senate Bills 1261 – 1265, spearheaded by Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, would place new emphasis on public-private partnerships and the involvement of young people in the historic national program.

“Michigan has such incredible natural resources,” said Pavlov, sponsor of SB 1263. “Harnessing our resources for economic and recreational use while keeping our youth, our most important resource, here is key to Michigan’s reinvention.”

The package would reshape the MCCC to be operated in partnership by universities, private companies, and nonprofit organizations while maintaining its traditional roots of field-based training, conservation and restoration work. It would expand the scope of participants to Michigan youth aged 17-27 and broaden the span of work training programs available to participants.

The goals of the new MCCC program are retention of Michigan’s youth, stewardship of the state’s natural resources, enhanced education, and employment opportunities and improved labor resources for state agencies and other conservation organizations.

The legislation will also encourage the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and nonprofit MCCC program to work on projects that increase public access to land and lead to economic development.

Stakeholders were quick to praise the changes. The package is supported by the DNR, Michigan Recreation and Park Association (MRPA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, and others, including a number of the state’s public universities.

“Quality parks increase surrounding property values, provide affordable places for physical activity, enhance quality of life and create vibrant communities where residents want to live, work and play,” said MRPA Chief Operating Officer Ann Conklin. “The Michigan Recreation and Park Association supports the Civilian Conservation Corps, and we are grateful for the Senate’s swift action that will lead to a valuable employment opportunity for young people in our state.”

Other bill sponsors are Sens. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba; Mike Green, R-Mayville; Goeff Hansen, R-Hart; and Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor.

The bills were each passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 36-1.

The MCCC package now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.