Governor Rick Snyder wants Michigan to be known as “the trail state.” During a special address on an environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient Michigan near Kalamazoo on Wednesday, he laid out the plan for a 599-mile trail that would run from Detroit to Wisconsin through the Upper Peninsula.
Beginning on Belle Isle, Detroit’s inner-city recreational island with a bike path, picnic areas and a beach, the trail will wind north through Flint, Bay City, Mackinaw City, Grand Marais, Munising and through Ironwood on the border of Wisconsin.
Already, 365.5 miles of the proposed trail are existing trails that are in use today. Snyder’s plan hopes to build an additional 233.5 miles of trails to link between the existing routes. Of that, 152 miles are needed in the upper peninsula and 81.5 in the lower peninsula.
“We have unique assets in our state that many other people in the world wish they have,” Snyder said during the address. “Let’s not take it for granted but do something with [them].”
Ultimately, the trail might extend further if connected to Wisconsin’s trail system. In Michigan, the effort is not projected to cost a lot of money since the state does not plan to purchase land for this route. A preliminary map released by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) shows the route, as well as links that are missing and need to be constructed. The department stresses that the map is purely conceptual and that the actual trails may change.
The DNR has already met with communities, the federal government and volunteer groups to determine how the trails can be connected. The non-motorized trail will take participants through the state’s “breathtaking vistas,” forests, prairies, waterways and more dazzling terrain.