- Associated Press - Friday, June 27, 2014

ROSCOMMON, Mich. (AP) - An official grand reopening is planned for next month at South Higgins Lake State Park after it got a new boat launch, boat washing area and roadways, officials said.

Improved facilities have been in use since mid-June at the park in Roscommon County, about 165 miles northwest of Detroit, the state Department of Natural Resources said. The DNR and the Higgins Lake Foundation plan to hold a public reopening event July 11.

Funding for the project was provided by the Waterways Fund from boating registration fees and a portion of fuel taxes. In addition, the boat wash that can help keep invasive species from spreading was funded by more than $70,000 in donations from the Higgins Lake Foundation and the EnTrust fund.

“We’re pleased to sponsor this landmark structure which will help protect the natural resources in one of Michigan’s most popular state parks,” Vicki Springstead, foundation chairwoman, said in a statement.

The boat wash to clean, drain and dry watercraft before and after launching is free to use. The park includes nearly a mile of shoreline along Higgins Lake, and people can help prevent plants or creatures from spreading to or from others sites by cleaning their boats.

“We are pleased to complete these needed improvements to this heavily used boating access site,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division.

Final work on improvements at the park, including planting of some new grass, is wrapping up ahead of the grand reopening, the DNR said.

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Online:

South Higgins Lake State Park: http://bit.ly/1jrwF94