Michigan cyclists already eager for the spring thaw now have another reason to get excited. A plan to build a hiking and biking trail from Detroit to Wisconsin is moving forward.
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A meeting is scheduled for March 18 at Northern Michigan University's Bottum University Center to take public input and discuss what needs to be done to make the trail a reality, the Mining Journal reports.
The proposed 924-mile trail would stretch from Belle Isle, Detroit's island park, to Ironwood, Mich. on the border of Wisconsin, connecting existing pathways like the North Central State Trail.
The plan calls for new trails to be developed, totaling about 81.5 miles in the Lower Peninsula and 152 miles in the Upper Peninsula, according to The Detroit Free Press.
One strange thing about the trail was pointed out by Todd Scott of the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, which helped route portions of the trail. In an article on m-bike.org, he notes that parts of the trail don't appear to be fully accessible to bikes.
Gov. Rick Snyder called for the creation of the statewide cycling trail in his 2012 Energy and Environment speech. In his message, Snyder noted that Michigan had more miles of trail than nearly any other state, giving part of the credit for this to volunteers who have helped to build and maintain the pathways.
"We will need a showcase trail that celebrates these efforts and pulls together private and public trails into a signature Pure Michigan experience," he said. "This shows the real appetite Michiganders have for quality trails, and points to the opportunity we have to be the number one trail state," he said.
The effort is being pitched as partnership between local and state governments as well as private and nonprofit entities, according to draft of a comprehensive state trail plan.
Michigan bicyclists interested in a more historical inter-state biking experience can travel across an Underground Railroad Bicycle route put together by the Adventure Cycling Association. And Detroiters looking for a shorter biking experience also have a variety of bike path and greenway options to explore.
A map of the proposed Belle Isle to Wisconsin Trail. The route is colored red.