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. Most recently we have polled all current gubernatorial candidates to determine their positions on key trails issues so that trail users can be aware of how these candidates stack up.
Plan: Completing the last gap in the trail between Richmond and Port Huron in St.Clair County.
We are just finishing the route determination in Calhoun County, one of the largest gaps, through a grant from Consumers Energy Foundation. Meanwhile, another gap, is being closed with the acquisition of the Wixom, Walled Lake and Commerce Township abandoned rail (a project many years in the making). The last big gap is in St. Clair County from the east end of the Macomb Orchard Trail to the Bridge to Bay Trail on Lake St. Clair. Closing this gap would mean a continuous trail of over 250 miles! The work is to do an optimal location review of a variety of alternatives, pursue community approval, and line up the critical path towards making it happen. Michigan Trails and Greenways has just received a $5,000 DALMAC grant from the Tri-County Bicycle Association to allow this route analysis and community engagement to happen.
Need: Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is actively seeking individual donations to continue to develop the Great Lake to Lake 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 Kristen Bennett, Iron Belle Trail Coordinator at to explore this opportunity!
The Michigan Fitness Foundation and Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance have received an AmeriCorps Planning Grant to address local health, physical activities, and food access. Initial planning grant surveys and preparation will focus on underserved low‐income areas with high obesity rates in six Michigan counties.
Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance, and their multiple, multilevel partners recognize that to impact obesity prevention through healthy eating patterns and PA for our target audiences, programming must include direct education,“policy, systems, and environmental change (PSE)”, and social marketing interventions delivered primarily in the following settings: farmers markets, schools, communities, worksites, retail and other points of food access and/or health care locations serving underserved populations, and communities in crisis. There is strong evidence from research that demonstrates the use of trails increases the levels of physical activity in a community. Michigan’s statewide trail system is an important resource and offers ample infrastructure for no-cost physical activity within a range of up to 10 minutes away from thousands of residents across the state.
The planning grant scope of work will include selection of at‐risk populations in Michigan to improve their adoption of the CDC recommended guidelines for physical activity and nutrition to improve overall health.