A state-proposed hiking and bicycling trail stretching from Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in the Upper Peninsula will be called Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail, the Department of Natural Resources said Monday.

While portions of the recreational corridors are already in place and open to the public, more work in creating the final connections will be needed. But state officials received 8,800 name submissions for the project from the public between Sept. 22 and Oct. 13.

“This name effectively captures the beauty and strength of our state’s exceptional natural and cultural resources,” DNR Director Keith Creagh said in Monday statement. “Along the route from Belle Isle to Ironwood, Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail will ultimately connect communities, provide a variety of recreation opportunities, and showcase our great state to residents and visitors alike.”

There were hundreds of entries with variations of the final name, so the department randomly drew three names to get credit and a prize for the moniker: Amanda Mailer of Rochester, Matthew Husted of Jerome and John Meikle of Lapeer.

As an award, each gets to select one of three vacation prize packages at locations along the trail: The Henry Ford and Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit; the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island; or the Kaug Wudjoo Lodge at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon.

Once completed, the trail will provide a 1,259-mile hiking route as well as a 774-mile biking route.

“The hard work and thoughtful vision that have for years gone into Michigan’s existing trail system and future connectors help to lay the groundwork for completion of this important cross-state trail,” Creagh said.

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