Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trailway

based on an article in the Leelanau Enterprise, "Heritage Trailway proposal outlined," Sep 16, 2008

The article Sleeping Bear Proposes More Rec Opportunities mentioned a 27-mile, multi-use trail to possibly be built near M-22. This article gives additional details.

Representatives of the National Park Service and the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments are proposing the Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Trailway. The trail would begin at Manning Road at Leelanau County’s southern border with Benzie County and extend north along M-22, M-109 and through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as far north as Good Harbor Trail (County Road 651) in Centerville Township.

Open houses were held throughout October 2008 to inform the public concerning the plan. The Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route project got under way in 2001 under the auspices of the Michigan Department of Transportation. A county scenic heritage route committee consisting of representatives from 12 municipalities along the M-22 corridor in Leelanau County meets monthly to oversee a Scenic Heritage Route plan. One of the priorities in that plan includes creation of a non-motorized trailway through the National Lakeshore.

Patty O’Donnell, of the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, told the Empire Township Board that the heritage route committee had secured a $250,000 federal grant to design and engineer the first phase of the trail. Tentatively, the first phase could include a trail from the Dune Climb in the national park to the unincorporated village of Glen Arbor via M-109. One alternative calls for the trail to use part of an historic narrow gauge railroad bed built by D.H. Day to move lumber from forested areas north to the dock at Glen Haven.

Empire Township Board members appeared to be generally pleased with what they heard from O’Donnell this week. In Cleveland Township, however, board members and members of the public expressed some concerns about what they were hearing from Barb and Lee Jameson.

Several alternative routes are being proposed. Not all local residents are pleased with some of these alternatives. the path would deviate from the M-22 right of way at Narada Lake where a boardwalk will be necessary and could provide opportunities for a wildlife viewing platform. In addition, a bridge would be required to take the trail across Shetland Creek near M-22. A Cleveland Township trustee noted that the portion of M-22 paralleling Little Traverse Lake is already a “difficult and dangerous” stretch of road. He asserted that adding a trailway past homes and business in that area would only make the corridor more dangerous.

The trail will not be located on any of the land proposed to be placed in official wilderness status. Mechanized use of any kind is prohibited in wilderness. Multi-use paths are generally 10 feet wide with 2-foot shoulders. It may be paved or have a crushed limestone surface. Plans call for the trail to be constructed in phases over several years.

See the Trailway Plan and Environmental Assessment at NPS / Sleeping Bear
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

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