$800,000 in grants will pay for the latest link in a trail, which when completed, will be the largest greenway connector of Metroparks in Southeast Michigan. How long? Fifty miles!
The grants are earmarked for a 4-mile link to connect 24 miles of
trails from Huron Park in Flat Rock to Oakwoods Metropark on the border
of Belleville, making the entire Downriver Greenway a 50-mile path. The trail will take outdoor enthusiasts through trees, by waters, across open land, and more.
"It's huge. It traverses communities, historic areas, natural
resources," Twardesky says. "People can use it to commute to work, schools,
recreational facilities," says Anita Twardesky, co-chair of the Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative,
a consortium of groups that have worked for at least a decade on projects from a vision to lay a continuous trail from the Detroit on the Detroit River DLGI.
More than being a nature-rich spot for walking, running, kayaking, fishing and more, the trail could draw visitors from around and outside the state, Twardesky says.
"Through these greenways we are starting to reinvent our region and look at it as a tourist opportunity," Twardesky says. "Basically from the City of Detroit, down to Monroe over I-275 I consider a hidden jewel within the state. There are lotus beds, sturgeon spawning in the Detroit river. History, Henry Ford's village in Flat Rock, the building of the Edmund Fitzgerald."
Making it possible are grants to the City of Flat Rock from the Michigan
Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources
Trust Fund to the City of Flat Rock.
The longer-term goal is to connect the Downriver system of trails to Monroe and, finally and eventually, Toledo.
The newest link fulfills a dream of Metroparks planners going back to the 1940s for the park system to be linked. DLGI Co-Chair Mary Bohlng, a Michigan Sea Grant
educator, and a number of
nonprofits and governmental bodies have worked for at least a decade on creating the system.
just over 10 years, the Downriver community has come together to
provide its residents with an impressive network of greenway trails,"
Congressman John D. Dingell says in a statement announcing the grants. "These trails greatly improve the quality of life in the region by
providing a means of transportation and an outdoor recreational
activity."Source: Anita Twardesky, co-chair of the Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative and public relations and marketing manager for Riverside Kayak
Writer: Kim North Shine