Scenic Michigan strives to preserve the aesthetic amenities of our communities. We are a statewide coalition of grass roots organizations, elected officials, and citizens working to preserve and protect the beauty of Michigan’s roadsides. Scenic Michigan is an affiliate of Scenic America, a national organization sharing our goals.
- Jim Lagowski, Elk Rapids—President
- Megan Olds, Traverse City—Vice President
- Mark Harwood, Birmingham—Treasurer
- Mel Matchett, Elk Rapids—Secretary
- Pamela Frucci, Grosse Ile
- Larry Keisling, Troy
- Peter A. Letzmann, Kentwood
- Julie Metty Bennett, Lansing
- Rory Ohare Bolger, Detroit
- Mary Lou Tanton, Petoskey
- Anne Wiseman, Owosso
- Abby Dart, Ann Arbor—Executive Director (231-881-6266 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our efforts have led to:
- Prohibit MDOT from issuing new billboard permits.
- Make it a felony to destroy trees or shrubs within a highway right of way.
- Ban new construction of double-decker billboards.
- Increase the spacing between billboards.
- Ban tobacco advertising on billboards.
- Increase billboard permit fees.
- MDOT’s resolution against age-restricted consumable product ads on billboards.
- Installation of statewide logo and Tourist Oriented Directory Signs (T.O.D.S.).
- Scenic America’s designation of 58 miles of I-75, Gaylord to Mackinaw Bridge, as a “Last Chance Landscape,” one of 12 across the United States.
What We Do For You
Scenic Michigan’s primary goal is to preserve and enhance the scenic quality of Michigan by eliminating visual blight along our roadsides. There are several ways we work to control visual clutter and conserve our scenic resources:
- Work with the legislature for tough visual pollution controls to protect the aesthetic quality of our roadsides.
- Conduct educational programs to help community leaders determine how they want their communities to look and suggest ways to achieve that vision. Methods include vegetation conservation, billboard regulation and communication tower controls.
- Act as an information clearing house bringing communities together to conserve Michigan’s roadsides and learn how other areas end visual blight.
- Protect Michigan’s unique character because our state is known for its many lakes and vast outdoor recreational resources. We work to protect our state’s unique communities and expansive vistas.
Why We Do What We Do
Scenic Michigan feels it is important to enable communities identify their special qualities and to empower them to preserve this unique character. Outdoor advertising companies are powerful in Michigan. They persistently employ well-funded lobbying efforts to weaken restrictions on visual pollution. They even lobby for the removal of publicly owned roadside vegetation from areas near billboards.
Four states with total billboard bans—Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont—enjoy thriving tourism. They have found logo signs and Tourist Oriented Directional Signs (T.O.D.S) less intrusive, and more effective than billboards for providing traveler information.
Together we can work to respect Michigan’s scenic amenities. Your support is essential to this mission.
The Founding of Scenic Michigan
- Scenic Michigan saw its beginnings in l989 under the aegis of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs Billboard Control Task Force.
- In 1990, this billboard control task force supported successful legislation empowering townships with under 30,000 populations to regulate billboards on local and state trunk lines.
- Attorney General Frank J. Kelley and Michigan’s first lady Helen Milliken further raised consciousness concerning highway billboard blight when they traveled the state with their slide program “The Great Terrain Robbery.”
- MUCC Billboard Control Task Force voted in 1995 to become Scenic Michigan and become an affiliate of Scenic America. Scenic Michigan lent support to the passage of legislation implementing the LOGO signing program at 30 locations along Michigan’s freeways and interstate highways.
- One year later Scenic Michigan incorporated, received a 501 (c) (3) designation, affiliated with Scenic America, and supported the successful passage of legislation for Tourist Oriented Directional System (T.O.D.S.) signing for non-freeway Michigan highways.
- Legislation supported by Scenic Michigan and signed into law in 1998 raised billboard permit fees, restricted double-decker billboards, increased spacing between billboards, and penalized vegetation removal violations. Shortly thereafter, legislation was passed permitting LOGO signs installations at Interstate and freeway exits throughout Michigan.
- Since 2000 Scenic Michigan has filed amicus curiae briefs and supported successful billboard restrictions in Holland, East Lansing, Clawson and Livonia, and published Scenic Resource Guide and Recommended Elements of a Sign Ordinance.
- April 22, 2003 was declared Scenic Michigan Day by Michigan Senate. Senator Tom George, Kalamazoo, who also sponsored legislation signed into law in December 2006, banning any new billboard permits in Michigan.
- Scenic Michigan offices are located in northern Michigan and presents “Sign and Lighting Workshop” for units of government throughout the state.