This week the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance (MTGA) is celebrating Michigan Trails Week. We celebrate over 13,000 miles of state-designated trails because they improve the quality of our lives.
Over 3,000 miles of water trails and 2,600 miles of rail-trails connect us all, and that’s thanks in large part to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF). The MNRTF has invested over $245 million in our trails in all 83 counties.
It’s MNRTF projects like the Iron Belle Trail that ensure residents from Ironwood to Detroit have access to trails. The MNRTF provides equal access to outdoor recreation opportunities while preserving our special places like St. John’s Marsh. Our trails link those special places while connecting people and communities.
Trails provide a safe way for everyone to improve their physical and mental health. In our urban areas, trails like the Bridge to Bay also provide a healthy transportation alternative. In fact, improving trail access has spurred economic development opportunities and revitalized neighborhoods.
The Blue Water River Walk is a prime example – the MNRTF helped acquire the property, then St. Clair County and the Community Foundation worked for years to create a vibrant waterfront. Today the Blue Water River Walk offers a trail, observation dock, outdoor classroom, wetlands park, fishing pier and public art displays – all free and available to all. Who wouldn’t want to live nearby?
That’s why MTGA is urging a yes vote on Proposal One this November. Please vote to expand and update the Trust Fund so it can continue supporting the places and trails we love.
Andrea LaFontaine is the executive director Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance.