DNR Dedicates Bridge in Tahquamenon Falls State Park to Parks and Recreation Chief Ronald Olson

A chief for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division was honored Monday for his 17 years of service through the naming of a bridge after him.

Tahquamenon Falls Pedestrian Bridge2 May 2022The 142-foot-long bridge over Tahquamenon River that was installed last fall is officially named the Ronald A. Olson Island Bridge. The DNR says that this was “an apt symbol for Olson, who has build a career around bringing people together and encouraging them to aim for destinations they can’t yet see.”

“When it comes to possibilities in parks and recreation, nobody is better at building bridges and getting people to the table than Ron Olson,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger.

Olson oversees a parks and recreation system that includes 103 state parks, nearly 1,300 boating access sites, 13,400 miles of state-designated trails and 82 state-sponsored harbors.

He has accomplished many things while working with the DNR including driving more tourism to the county and local parks, guiding and implementing the Recreation Passport, advocating for a more diverse workforce, introducing the Chief’s Challenges to inspire more solution focused-ideas, making a matching grant program for accessible recreation amenities and overseeing some of Michigan’s biggest state park and campground visitation numbers.

The bridge was installed in September 2021 in Tahquamenon Falls State Park. It was first constructed in Florida before its four sections were set in place with a helicopter. The bridge provides access for anyone who wants to view the river or visit an island in the middle of the Lower Falls rapids. The Ron A. Olson Island Bridge opened in May 2022 over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.