Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Since 2017, Heart of the Lakes, Michigan Recreation & Park Association and Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance have coordinated our efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion. Together, we represent more than 2,000 organizations offering recreation services, maintaining trails and public spaces, and protecting farmland, wetlands and shoreline.
Here are our goals for 2021 as we continue to work together in advocating for a more accessible and inclusive outdoors:
Michigan Trails advocates for trails policy and funding with the Michigan Legislature and the Executive Branch to advance a pro-trails agenda that fits the needs of the non-motorized trails community. We provide testimony, work directly with local trail groups to carry policy positions to the legislature and help to advance funding issues at the state level.
Great Lake-to-Lake Trail, Route #1 – South Haven to Port Huron
Plan: Completing the remaining gaps in the trail, which is about 75% complete
Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance is working with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation on a grant to complete remaining gaps and work with stakeholders to build the Great Lake-t0-Lakes Trail Route #1 into a world-class destination trail. In 2020, we were happy to see new connections and additions to the Michigan Air Line Trail and Bridge to Bay Trail. MTGA continues to work with the trail managers of the 19 different trails that make up Route #1 to put permanent routes around remaining highway obstacles and promote links to other trail networks. The destination trail is fully signed and open to the public all year long while gaps are being completed.
Need: Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is actively seeking individual donations to continue to develop the Great Lake-to-Lake Trail.
The Iron Belle Trail
Plan: Complete seamless hiking trail connections in Ingham, Jackson, and Calhoun counties and continuous biking trail connections in Genesee county as part of this cross-state trail network from Belle Isle Park in Detroit to Ironwood at the Michigan/Wisconsin border.
Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is working together with other partners, at the statewide, regional, and local levels to complete this 2,000+ mile trail. Both the hiking trail up the west side of the state and the biking trail along the east side of the state are more than 60 percent complete. The routes both start at Belle Isle Park in Detroit and end in Ironwood at the Michigan/Wisconsin border. In between the trail will experience the gamut of Michigan scenery and attractions, through urban and rural landscapes, forests, meadows and cityscapes, over and under interstate highways, across rivers and around lakes. Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Iron Belle Trail page for more information on this spectacular project.
Need: The Iron Belle Trail will need $162 million in private dollars to complete the trail in conjunction with public grant funding from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and the federal Transportation Alternatives Program. The Iron Belle Trail team is on the lookout for any potential donors that would like to participate in the fundraising campaign! Email MTGA at to explore this opportunity!
History Telling Program
Beginning in 2018, Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance has worked in partnership with the Michigan History Center and the Michigan Heritage Trail coordinator, Dan Spegel, to develop a scholarship program to provide tuition support for key graduate students in history programs around Michigan. This work has been funded by generous gifts from Mike Levine and the Meijer Foundation to provide support for these graduate students. These graduate students work closely with Dan Spegel to go out and conduct first-hand research of historical events along Michigan’s trails. Currently, Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is engaging two graduate students—one working on the Mike Levine Lakelands Trail and another to work in conjunction with the Wayne County park system in telling history along the trails in Wayne County. A third graduate student is anticipated to be engaged soon to work up in the central Michigan area. This effort helps to accurately portray and depict historical events along Michigan’s trails as it adds to the depth and the richness of people’s journeys along our trails.
Michigan’s multi-use trails stretch more than 2,100 miles across the state. Trail surfaces are indicated by icons for paved trails, crushed stone, unimproved, boardwalk or road sections as represented in the trail chart. State parks are included as additional places to bike, hike and camp. Listings also include icons when trails are shared with horses, snowmobiles and/or ORVs.
The Michigan Multi-Use Trails Directory & Map is a general overview of the trail system across the state for trails 3.5 miles and longer and is updated biennially. Please refer to the websites listed for each trail for additional details (all websites are linked from the downloadable map, just over the bitly.com address with your curser, then click and open the corresponding website).
Michigan Trail’s and Greenways Alliance 2020 Annual Report
Check out our new release of MTGA’s 2020 Annual Report! This report covers MTGA’s achievements over the past year and gives thanks to our wonderful supporters.