924-mile Mich. trail idea inspires hiker
Chris Hillier, 45, of Taylor, Michigan, planned to start hiking the 924 miles of a proposed trail across his state, from Detroit north, across the Upper Peninsula, to Ironwood, Wisconsin, starting April 26.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced plans for the trail last November. Department of Natural Resources officials will meet with local groups this month to start work on the project.
The trail, which will require the construction of more than 200 miles of new trail, could take three years to complete, Ron Olson, chief of the DNR's parks and recreation division told the Detroit Free Press.
Although connections need to be made between existing rail-trails and other trails, Hillier intends to take months, if necessary, to be the first to hike the route as proposed.
One concern already raised is whether it would better to increase funding to maintain existing trail than try to connect them through fragile habitat.
Another difficult issue for trail planners will be determining who will get to use the trail. The newspaper noted the safety concern hikers have for sharing trails with fast moving bicyclists, and noted that in rural parts of Michigan, people on snowmobiles, ATVs and horses will want trail access.
Olson noted that the governor's plan is for nonmotorized use of the border-to-border trail.
To provide comment on the proposed cross-state trail, email DNRfirstname.lastname@example.org or call 517/373-9900.