The last three decades in Michigan’s trail movement have been about securing individual trails of all types: abandoned rail, utility corridors, road rights of way, etc. Today, Michigan can extend these trails east and west to reach from one Great Lake to another, weaving in many communities and tourism attractions along the way. MTGA has identified 5 potential Great Lake to Lake Trail routes.
At least 150 stakeholders were identified for the Great Lake to Lake Trail Route 1 from South Haven to Port Huron in Phase 1 of the project. They played an important role in devising a name and logo for the series of 5 thematic cross-state trails. They will also play a crucial role in implementing Route 1, advocating and planning for its development, marketing it, and connecting it to other destinations in their areas. MTGA’s “trail ambassadors” conducted field analysis and dialogue with city and township officials along with law enforcement, transportation and health agencies to come up with a potential route in each of the gaps. They also inventoried each existing trail segment in the approximately 240-mile route as to its surface, endpoints, and current condition. The route is featured in a poster plan that describes the trail, its attractions, and potential routing options in the gaps.
Much progress has been achieved since the completion of the poster plan in 2011, including the completion of almost 6 miles of trail in the gaps, construction about to begin on another 10 miles of trail in the gaps, conceptual planning done for development of another 11 miles of trail in the gaps, and upgrading of 11 miles of existing trail.
Plans are in the works for overall wayfinding and marketing, including signage along the route, and a website that will feature trip options and attractions along the way. Stay tuned!