MICHIGAN TRAILS ANNUAL AWARDS
For Immediate Release: September 6, 2018
Michigan Trails Commends State Trail Advocates in Ceremony at Capitol on September 27
Lansing, MI — The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance has announced an annual award program to recognize the exemplary leadership of trail advocates across the state that have helped Michigan become the number one trails state in the nation. In a ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda on September 27, Michigan Trails will honor a Legislator of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Federal/State Agency Employee Trail Advocate of the Year, and Non-Profit/Local Agency Employee Trail Advocate of the Year.
The Alliance is pleased to announce Representative Holly Hughes and Senator Goeff Hansen will share the Michigan Trails Legislator of the Year award. The award celebrates a Michigan legislator who has either sponsored or cosponsored legislation advancing Michigan trails policy or has otherwise exhibited leadership in advancing trails policy. Rep. Hughes will be recognized for her work as Chair of the House Outdoor Recreation Committee, a vocal trail advocate for the Muskegon area, and as a main sponsor of the e-bike bills and bike safety package.
Senator Hansen, Chair of the Senate Outdoor Recreation Committee, will be honored for his sponsorship of the Pure Michigan Trails legislation as well as legislation updating the state’s railbanking program, providing for volunteer liability protection, and most-recently his work to affirm the role of trail councils and the value of trails as a public good in a community. The senator was also a key proponent of renaming the Hart Montague Trail in honor of William Field, who purchased the former railroad and donated it for trail use to the state of Michigan.
Michigan Trails has named the Volunteer of the Year Award after Mike Levine, philanthropist and tireless trail advocate. The award celebrates an uncompensated volunteer for their demonstrated exceptional commitment to either a local, regional or statewide trail. The Mike Levine Michigan Trails Volunteer of the Year will be awarded to Dave Monstrey for his work on the Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails, or TART Trails.
Monstrey is one of the founders of the Leelanau Trail, the first and only President of the Leelanau Trail Association, a TART Trails alumni board member, member of the Safety, Operation and Maintenance Committee, a donor and the Leelanau Trail Crew Ambassador. Monstrey has recorded over 1200 volunteer-hours with TART Trails.
A long history of partnerships with the state led Michigan Trails to recognize a State Agency Employee Trail Advocate of the Year and to name it after Mark Mandenberg, the Michigan Department of Natural Resource’s former Non-Motorized Trail Grant Coordinator. Mandenberg lived a life of trails from his days as an Eagle Scout in East Lansing carrying through his many years working in trail development in the MDNR. Mandenberg passed recently after a courageous battle with cancer. Like Mark, the award recipient must demonstrate an unusual and unique commitment beyond normal job expectations for work on developing and managing Michigan’s trails.
Roger Storm, MDNR’s Trailway Acquisition Specialist, is the 2018 Mark Mandenberg State Agency Employee Trail Advocate of the Year awardee. Storm is a long-time trail advocate and the former Michigan Chapter of Rails to Trails Conservancy State Coordinator. He is currently administering the Department’s Trailway Acquisition Program.
“Michigan has come to be known as The Trails State because of the remarkable work that individuals like Roger Storm have done on trails across the state,” said Paul Yauk, State Trails Coordinator for MDNR’s Parks and Recreation Division. “When I speak to local community officials and leaders, one thing I always tell them is to find your trail champion – someone in your community who is going to take ownership of a trail project and see that it is a priority. Roger has been Michigan’s trail champion.”
The Michigan Trails Non-Profit/Local Agency Employee Trail Advocate of the Year is given to a current employee of a non-profit or local governmental agency who demonstrates an unusual and enduring commitment to advancing trails policy, trails development or trails advocacy. The 2018 recipient is Kenny Wawsczyk, Regional Trail Coordinator for the North Country Trail Association.
Wawsczyk joined the NCTA as the Regional Trail Coordinator for the state of Michigan in 2015 and has made a significant impact on the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) throughout the state and within the Michigan trails community. As the NCTA Regional Trail Coordinator, Kenny coordinates the work of 12 NCTA Chapters and helps to design and implement projects across the 1,150 miles of NCT in Michigan. His contributions to the trail on a local and regional level have helped to raise the profile of the NCT and strengthen relationships with federal, state and local agency partners and land managers across the state.
The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is the statewide voice for non-motorized trail users, helping people build, connect and promote trails for a healthier and more prosperous Michigan. For more information, visit us at www.michigantrails.org or find us on Facebook.