DNR Announces Pure Michigan Designation Program

New Pure Michigan Trail and Trail Town Program to Elevate State’s Best Trail Resources

The DNR now is accepting applications for the Pure Michigan Trail and Trail Town designation program, due Oct. 1, 2018.

The DNR and Travel Michigan announced yesterday the official launch of the Pure Michigan Trail and Trail Town designation program. It’s an effort aimed at acknowledging Michigan’s position as the Trails State, showcasing an array of quality trails (including water trails) and trail-centered communities, and recognizing extensive collaboration of state and local governments, nonprofits, foundations and volunteers that develop and maintain the trails.

“The concept behind the Pure Michigan Trail and Trail Town designation is a welcome addition to the state’s trails program,” said Bob Wilson, executive director of the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance. “Having first worked on enabling legislation in 2014 and now seeing the Pure Michigan designation come to fruition, it is an exciting time for all those who believe in trails in our state.”

Local units of government, trail authorities or nonprofits primarily responsible for the proposed nonmotorized or motorized trail or trail town may apply for the designation. Applicants must demonstrate that the trail or trail town:

  • Offers a high-quality trail or trail town experience.
  • Provides clear information for users.
  • Enjoys broad community support.
  • Has a sustainable business, maintenance and marketing plan.
Pure Michigan Trail and Trail Town logo and graphic

“This Pure Michigan designation will help to shine a light on some of the best and most scenic trails across the state, as well as the communities enhanced by these trails,” said Paul Yauk, DNR state trails coordinator. “Recognizing these valuable outdoor assets as part of this program also will help us further anchor Michigan’s position as the nation’s Trails State.”

Michigan offers a network of more than 12,500 miles of state designated trails, with new connections in process every year. It’s an interconnected trails system that provides plentiful recreation opportunities for bicyclists, hikers, ORV riders, snowmobilers, equestrians, cross-country skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

“Highlighting the vast network of trails throughout our great state will continue to draw attention to one of Michigan’s greatest assets, our abundant natural resources,” said David Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan. “Residents and visitors alike will have additional access to resources, maps and information to highlight both motorized and nonmotorized trails as well as natural resources around the state.”

Information on the Pure Michigan designation program – including an overview, the application process, designation criteria, frequently asked questions, a handbook and other related resources – can be found at michigan.gov/dnrtrails.

“We all know the benefit of being associated with the Pure Michigan brand and its direct tie to our nation’s leading trails system,” said Wilson. “It reinforces both the value of the trails and the value of the brand.”

All Pure Michigan Trail and Trail Town applications must be received by Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. During the following review and evaluation period, the DNR may ask applicants for supplemental information or documentation.

Questions and completed applications can be submitted via email to Mike Morrison at  or via traditional mail to: Pure Michigan Trails Designation c/o State Trails Coordinator, Parks and Recreation Division, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 30257, Lansing, MI 48909.

Questions? Contact  at 517-284-6141 or  at 248-431-1265.

Michigan Trails encourages the sharing of this information with any Trails or Trail Towns that you know who would be interested in applying for this designation.