Recognition keeps rolling in for the late Saugatuck Township legislator and environmentalist Patty Birkholz, with state Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) introducing a bill Sept. 26 that would rename Michigan’s recreation passport fee in her honor.
Birkholz, 74, died May 3 after serving 10 years as township treasurer, five terms in the state legislature and a long record as an Great Lakes advocate and leader.
“Enjoying our great outdoors is part of what makes Michigan such a great place to live, work and raise a family,” said Jones. “No one understood that more than Patty Birkholz.
“It would be a fitting tribute to Patty’s lifetime of work and dedication to our outdoors that we name the program that engages people with Michigan’s natural beauty in her honor.”
Jones’ bill would rename the current state fee the “Sen. Patty Birkholz Recreation Passport Fee” as a testament to her efforts to protect Michigan’s natural resources and ensure state parks were safe and accessible for generations to come.
“It will be hard for anyone to match Patty’s contributions to our state,” Jones said. “In addition to the state parks passport program, she led the effort to have Michigan join the Great Lakes basin compact and enact significant laws to protect our waters — including ballast water standards to prevent the spread of invasive species in the Great Lakes.”