West Michigan Friends' Summit
The first-ever West Michigan Friends’ Summit is happening in March 2019!
Friends groups have played a major role in aiding in the work that we do throughout the region. This summit brings together the ideas and passion we all share for West Michigan trails to form a stronger bond and a shared vision for the future of the trail network.
At this summit, you will:
- Hear about the current state of the trail system and exciting new developments that are underway.
- Network and collaborate with other regional friends groups to share ideas and explore best practices.
- Help strengthen our regional team to continue striving toward a world-class trail system.
Contact Jennifer Antel at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in learning more about the summit.
Our new Fund Coordinator, Jennifer Antel
After an intensive search, West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition is proud to welcome Jennifer Antel to the team as the Fund Coordinator.
Jennifer has served in local government for over 25 years as an administrator, elected and appointed official, and volunteer. She and her husband, Ray, started the friends’ group that is now working on the River to River project.
She currently serves on the City of Wayland’s DDA and City Council. She is also a middle school track and cross country coach. Jennifer loves the outdoors and is passionate about trails. She and her family enjoy exploring trails and parks wherever they travel.
2019 Kal-Haven Trailblazer
We are proud to be a sponsor of the 2019 Kal-Haven TrailBlazer – one of the first rides of spring on the Kal-Haven Trail. The 34-mile compacted limestone trail connecting Kalamazoo and South Haven was built on the abandoned Kalamazoo & South Haven Railroad.
Many TrailBlazer riders like to bike the Kal-Haven one way, parking at either South Haven or Kalamazoo and taking the early morning shuttle to the opposite staging area to cycle back. Adjoining road routes of 25, 45, 70, and 100 miles are marked for road bikes. There are five rest stops provided along the route. Live music and hot lunch is served in Bloomingdale.
The annual TrailBlazer is hosted by the Friends of the Kal-Haven Trail and the Friends of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trailway. The mission of these groups is to provide support for expansion and maintenance of the trails and continued programming, attracting more people to take advantage of this regional resource.
Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail
The Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail will be an important connector between two long-distance rail-trails: the 25-mile Musketawa Trail from Marne to Muskegon, and the 93-mile Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park between Grand Rapids to Cadillac. Right now the Pioneer Trail extends from the Musketawa into the City of Walker at 3 Mile and Alpine Avenue. Construction in 2019 and 2020 will take the trail to West River Drive and then to North Park Street where it will connect with the White Pine.
Mid West Michigan Fred Meijer Trail Network
The Fred Meijer Flat River Valley Rail Trail links the cities of Lowell, Belding, and Greenville. Plans call for construction and paving of the entire trail in 2019, which travels primarily through dense woodlands. The trail is an integral component of the Mid-West Michigan Rail-Trail Network, which will stretch 125 miles from Owosso to Alma.
The Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail Trail is another component in mid-west Michigan. It extends from Ionia to Lowell, passing through Saranac on the way. The section between Lowell and Saranac is also planned for construction this year.
North Bank and Spoonville Trails
The North Bank Trail is a proposed 18-mile trail generally along the former Grand Trunk Western Railroad right of way from Spring Lake to Marne. The first 3.3 miles out of Spring Lake are completed and this year construction will bring the trail into Nunica.
The Spoonville Trail begins near the Grand River in Robinson Township. Trail users can safely cross the scenic Grand River on a protected lane on the west side of the M-231 bridge. The first phase of the trail was completed in 2016, and this year construction will connect it to the North Bank Trail at 112th Avenue in Nunica.
White Pine Trail Receives $3 Million State Appropriation
The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park Lansing received a $3 million state appropriation to help pave and enhance the trail in the budget supplemental that passed December 21, 2018.
The 92-mile Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park runs from Grand Rapids to Cadillac and is one of Michigan’s earliest rail trails. Work on the trail began in the late 1980s with paving to follow in the early 1990s, but 29 miles between Big Rapids and Sand Lake still remain unpaved.
“After 30 years, it’s time to begin to take the last steps to finish this trail and reap the benefits,” said Bob Wilson, Executive Director of the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance. “When pavement is completed, not only will this trail improve quality of life and attract tourism to Michigan, it will be an economic boon to the 15 communities along the trail.”
“It has taken a long time to get here, but the steps we can take with this funding in helping to pave the final sections of the White Pine Trail will soon complete an important connection in Michigan’s non-motorized multi-use trail network,” said John Morrison, Executive Director of the West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition. “It’s good for the residents and communities along the trail. It’s good for trail tourism in Michigan, and I look for the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park to be a Pure Michigan Trail in the near future.”
Mid-America Trails & Greenways Conference
We are excited to announce that we will be hosting the 2020 Mid-American Trails and Greenways (MATAG) conference in Grand Rapids, MI.
Rivers and lakes, prairies and savannas, woodlands and hills define the landscape of our trails meandering through the Midwest. Rural communities and bustling cities offer endless unique experiences to trail users with friendliness that can only be found in the nation’s heartland.
Join us and learn from other trail experts and enthusiasts from across the region. You’ll hear the latest trends and techniques in trail development, maintenance and promotion, as well as experience great field trips to explore and learn how to use your trail as a tool for economic development and active living.
2020 Conference Information
The conference is divided into classroom sessions and off-site workshops. Our classroom sessions focus on how to use our trails and greenways as a tool for health and wellness, how to promote your trail and use it as a resource for economic development, how to develop trails in your community and how to maintain them. Our off-site workshops give you the opportunity to see best practices in the field.
- Dates: August 30 - September 2, 2020
- Location: Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
LEARN MORE ABOUT MATAG
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