Recipients were each awarded amounts up to $30,000 for route planning, engineering, design projects or trail signage along either the Iron Belle Trail's hiking or bicycle routes. The funds were part of the 2015 budget for the non-motorized trail program.
The Iron Belle Trail stretches from Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula. In its current proposed state, the hiking route will include 1,259 miles (72 percent completed) and the bicycling route will offer 774 miles (58 percent completed). Federal, state and local units of government are working to complete Michigan’s newest (and longest) trail by building upon Michigan’s extensive existing trail network.
“We are excited to announce the grant recipients for 2016,” said DNR state trails coordinator Paul Yauk. “There is still a lot of work to do to complete both the hiking and bicycling portions of the Iron Belle Trail, but much progress has been made, and that's due in large part to the hard work and dedication of our many local partners.”
The DNR selected projects throughout the state that will develop the Iron Belle Trail and further Michigan’s reputation as “the Trails State.” Following is a list of counties where trail projects will be funded, award amounts and brief descriptions of the projects:
1. Orion Township (Oakland County): $25,000 to assist with planning, designing and engineering of the trail segment.
2. Polly Ann Trail Council (Oakland County): $15,000 for trail signage, including information on locations, local points of interest and trail connections.
3. Grand Blanc Township (Genesee County): $7,000 for planning, designing and engineering of trail segments.
4. Genesee County Parks (Genesee County): $30,000 to assist with planning, designing and engineering of the trail segment.
5. City of Frankenmuth (Saginaw County): $9,000 for trail signage.
6. Bridgeport Township (Saginaw County): $6,800 for trail signage.
7. County of Saginaw (Saginaw County): $25,000 to assist with planning, designing and engineering of the trail segment and four trail signs.
8. Alabaster Township (Iosco County): $7,200 for trail signage.
9. Oscoda Township (Iosco County): $27,000 to assist with planning, designing and engineering of the trail segment (phase three of the Iosco Exploration Trail).
10. County of Otsego (Otsego County): $30,000 for design and engineering of the trail segment.
11. North Country Trail Association (Luce County): $30,000 for Environmental Impact Statement studies and design and engineering of the bridge that extends over the Blind Sucker River for the North Country Trail.
12. North Country Trail Association (various counties): $6,500 for signage, including trail connector and location information for 10 sites along the North Country Trail.
13. Michigan Western Gateway Trail Authority (Gogebic County): $24,770 to assist with easement acquisition costs for the trail segment.
14. City of Gladstone (Delta County): $21,500 to assist with engineering costs on the Little Bay de Noc trail segment.
15. North Country Trail Association (Newaygo, Kent and Barry counties): $30,000 to assist with North Country Trail route planning in three counties.
16. Village of Concord (Jackson County): $20,000 to assist with a trail-surfacing project on the village of Concord section of rail-trail that connects with the state’s Falling Waters Trail.
17. Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation (Washtenaw County): $30,000 to assist with design and engineering of the trail segment.
18. Department of Natural Resources – Parks and Recreation Division: $5,230 for statewide signage.
To learn more about Michigan trails and sign up for trail email updates, visit www.michigan.gov/dnrtrails. From here, visitors can learn more about the Iron Belle Trail, including printing regional maps, learning about events, signing up for Iron Belle email updates and exploring the interactive trail map.
About the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.
For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.