GENESEE COUNTY – When it comes to trails, there’s no place like Michigan. With trails that cater to a variety of passions – from biking, hiking and snowmobiling to off-roading, paddling and horseback riding – Michigan has a trail for you. Michigan Trails Week, Sept. 23-30, is the perfect time to hit the trails for the first time or try your hand (or feet) at a new trail adventure.
“If you want to get out and really enjoy the great outdoors, Michigan is the place to be,” said Paul Yauk, statewide trails coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “Our trails take you to every corner of the state, with stops at some of the most picturesque locations in the country, a number of fascinating historical sites and attractions, and more than 100 state parks.”
Michigan has more than 12,500 miles of designated state trails that connect communities and provide real health and economic benefits. No matter where in Michigan you are, chances are you can find hiking and biking trails, equestrian trails, snowmobile trails, off-road vehicle trails and even water trails that will link you to many areas of the state.
In his proclamation declaring this year’s Michigan Trails Week, Gov. Rick Snyder cited “Michigan’s rich network of trails throughout the Upper and Lower peninsulas” that “provide residents and visitors with scenic spaces in which to explore nature, appreciate wildlife, experience solitude or enjoy time with family and friends.”
Those are pretty good reasons why Michigan is cementing its reputation as The Trails State, said Yauk. Michigan also offers:
The Iron Belle Trail, the longest designated state trail in the nation, is a 2,000-mile journey winding from Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in Detroit, crisscrossing more than half of Michigan’s counties along both hiking and biking routes. Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail showcases many of the state’s natural and cultural resources, from national lakeshores to historic industrial areas.
Thousands of miles of ORV trails that are constantly being upgraded through funding generated by the sale of ORV licenses and trail permits. These dollars help fund the restoration of many existing trails and the ability to link more communities across the state.
The largest statewide rail-trail system in the nation, with more than 2,600 miles of old railroad lines that have been converted for recreational use.
Thousands of miles of equestrian, snowmobile and water trail opportunities throughout the state, strengthening Michigan’s position as the nation’s Trails State.
The DNR again is partnering with the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, the Michigan Recreation and Park Association, and communities throughout the state to offer trails information and opportunities during Michigan Trails Week and all year long.
Michigan Trails Week concludes Saturday, Sept. 30, which is National Public Lands Day, traditionally a day for volunteer-led efforts to beautify and build awareness about the value and breadth of U.S. public lands. In fact, more than 30 percent of America’s land is public.
For more information about Michigan’s trails system and Michigan Trails Week opportunities, community resources and events throughout the state, visit the DNR website www.michigan.gov/ trailsweek.