42-mile trail among latest Mich. recreation additions
Detroit — The 42-mile Fred Meijer Clinton-Ionia-Shiawassee Trail is one of the latest additions to Michigan’s extensive trial network and those involved in the project say it expands recreation options and will make rural roads safer.
A ribbon-cutting event is set to take place Saturday in St. Johns, about 20 miles north of Lansing, after the state Department of Natural Resources opened the trail in January. For the event, bike shops in Ionia and Owosso are arranging rides that will end at St. Johns Rotary Park. Shorter rides also are planned.
Avery Weaver, chairman of the group Friends of the Fred Meijer CIS Trail, said that since the trail opened they already have seen people choose the trail over usual exercise or recreation routes along rural roads, which often have narrow shoulders.
“It’s keeping people off of the rural roads and from having to compete with car and truck traffic,” he said.
The trail runs from west of Owosso and traverses farm land and the communities of Ovid, St. Johns and Fowler. It follows the Maple and Grand rivers through Pewamo and Muir, ending east of Ionia at Prairie Creek.
Construction on the former rail corridor was completed with grants from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and the former federal Transportation Enhancement Program. Financial backers also included the Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw Bicycle Tour Fund and the Meijer Foundation.
Meanwhile, the DNR said a 23-mile Alanson-to-Mackinaw City segment of the 32-mile North Western State Trail in Emmet County will be improved and under construction this summer. Trail work will begin June 1 and bridge work will continue through the fall.
The overall North Western State Trail is 32 miles in length and, when complete, will connect Petoskey to Mackinaw City in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula. The segment being overhauled has been an unimproved rail corridor and designated snowmobile trail.
“Once the North Western State Trail is complete, every incorporated place in Emmet County will be connected by trail,” trail project coordinator Emily Meyerson said in statement.
The updates come as Michigan moves forward on a number of trail projects, including a new hiking and bicycling trail stretching hundreds of miles from Belle Isle Park in Detroit to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula along the border with Wisconsin.
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