Trail Link - Fall 2018

Trail Link - Fall 2018

WMTGC Annual Meeting - Save the Date

September 27, 2018, 6-9 p.m. • Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

With more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails connecting communities and providing real health benefits, it’s no wonder Michigan wants to celebrate trails for a whole week!

WMTGC is doing our part by celebrating with our Annual Meeting at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Join us to learn what’s going on with trails in West Michigan, meet this year’s Fred Meijer Trail Champion Award winners, and participate in an engaging panel discussion on the future vision of non-motorized multi-use trails in our region.

West Michigan Trails Vision: connecting trails, economics, and health 

A panel moderated by Eric Oberg, Director of Trail Development for the mid-west region at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, will discuss the expansion of West Michigan’s non-motorized transportation options, fueling strong businesses and economies around trails, and improving community health and wellness. Panelists include:

  • Aaron Bodbyl-Mast, Parks Planner at Ottawa County Parks & Receation
  • Brian Mulnix, Program Manager at West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission
  • David Marquardt, Director of Grand Rapids City Parks and Recreation
  • Jill Myer, Public Health Program Supervisor at Kent County Health Department
  • David Ringler, Director of Happiness at Cedar Springs Brewing Company

West Michigan has a great foundation for an active transportation trail network similar to European systems. The panel will look at how we can improve what we have to reach that world-class status with a system that works for everyone, improves community health, and functions as an economic driver. Your participation is encouraged.

Fred Meijer Trail Champion Award Winners

We’ll recognize this year’s Fred Meijer Trail Champion Award winners for trail professional, trail volunteer, and trail maintenance. Join us to see them in person and hear their stories. To see previous trail champions or to make nominations for 2019, visit our Trail Champions web page.

Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be catered by Meijer Gardens and a cash bar will be available. Reservations are required. To RSVP contact WMTGC with your name and names of guests at or 616-485-7805.

The event is free, and donations are kindly appreciated. 


New Board Members


WMTGC is excited to welcome three new members to our board of directors. Each brings a unique talent and expertise that will be invaluable to helping us reach the goals set in our new strategic plan.


Karie Enriquez
Karie Enriquez is a licensed Professional Engineer and the Project Manager for the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department.  Karie has 20 years of experience as a civil engineer in both the public and private sectors working in Arizona, Montana, Oregon, and Michigan. Karie enjoys traveling to new cities and playing outdoors with her husband and kids. 


Laurel Joseph
Laurel Joseph is a transportation planner at Grand Valley Metro Council taking a lead role in MPO efforts in non-motorized planning, environmental justice and accessibility, transit coordination, and linking land use and transportation. She is passionate about non-motorized transportation and working with local agencies within the region to expand and improve our options for bicycle and pedestrian travel. As city-dwellers, Laurel and her family primarily utilize the urban bike/ped network, but also enjoy walking and biking along regional trails whenever the opportunity arises.


Debra LeRoux
Debra LeRoux is a System Engineer for a local healthcare provider.  She has been involved with the Friends of the White Pine Trail for many years and is the current treasurer.  She participated in the Tour of the White Pine Trail for 10 years.  She is also involved with of the North Bank Trail which, upon its completion, will provide a connection to the White Pine Trail.  She enjoys bicycling, walking and running on the Michigan trails.

Trail Updates

A rainy-day ribbon cutting ceremony still drew a nice crowd for the Blue Star Trail in Saugatuck Township this spring for an early section of this trail that will connect the Beeline Trail between Holland and Saugatuck to the Kal-Haven Trail in South Haven. Other sections in the Saugatuck/Douglas area are currently being developed.


Blue Star Trail ribbon cutting on May 20.

The planning phase was recently completed for the proposed River to River Trail between the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail and the Fred Meijer M-6 Trail in Grand Rapids. Efforts are now focused on creating a trail management entity to drive the project forward.

A ribbon cutting for the much-anticipated Fred Meijer Berry Junction Trail was held at the south end of the newly completed trail on July 20. Connecting the Muskegon Lakeshore Trail to the Whitehall Trail and ultimately the William Field Hart-Montague Trail, the beautiful Berry Junction completes an important link in the West Michigan trail network.


Berry Junction Trail ribbon cutting on July 20. Photo by Karen Gentry.

In 2019 the Fred Meijer Flat River Valley Rail-Trail between Greenville and Lowell and the Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail-Trail between Lowell and Saranac should be paved in crushed asphalt, a new process recently completing testing that uses recycled road asphalt to create a nicely-paved surface. The process is less expensive than new asphalt and crushed limestone.

The latest section of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail to be paved in asphalt is the 11-mile section between Reed City and LeRoy, meaning the trail is now paved 40 miles between Cadillac and Big Rapids. Fundraising is underway for the final 29 miles between Sand Lake and Big Rapids.


Newly-paved White Pine Trail section. Photo by Daniel Romej.

The final phase of the Spoonville Trail connecting the Grand River Explorers Trail via the M-231 bridge to Nunica is expected for 2019. Also next year, construction of phase 2 of the North Bank Trail will extend it into Nunica, connecting to the Spoonville Trail at a regional trailhead being called Nunica Junction. These completed sections of trail will create a scenic 20-mile non-motorized experience with a stunning crossing over the Grand River.


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