Park gets grant for Port Oneida trail
Several organizations that are working to raise funds for the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail have announced that a $1.62 million federal grant has been received that will pay for a three-mile section of the trail that will go from Port Oneida Road to Bohemian Road (CR 669).
The Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Committee, Michigan Department of Transportation, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore), Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation (TART) Trails, and Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, who have partnered to develop the Heritage Trail, received the grant from the Federal Department of Transportation 2012 Public Lands Highway Discretionary program.
The first five-mile section of the trail, which runs from the Dune Climb north to Glen Arbor, opened in June and has been very popular, said Dusty Shultz, National Lakeshore superintendent. The grant will help to extend the trail to more areas of the park.
“So many visitors have complimented us on the (trail) between the Dune Climb and Glen Arbor,” Shultz said. “A concern we do hear often is that the trail is too short. Thanks to this grant, visitors will be provided the added opportunity for a longer visit on the trail, to new and interesting areas of the park.”
When finished, the hard-surfaced trail will more or less follow M-22 and M-109 for 27 miles through the National Lakeshore. The trail, which provides a safe venue for walkers and people on non-motorized bikes, will eventually connect the National Lakeshore’s main visitor destinations, such as the Dune Climb, with Glen Arbor and Empire.
Patty O’Donnell, regional planner with the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, is the project manager for the Heritage Trail.
“The trail partners and supporters are very thankful for this grant award to continue towards expanding the trail,” O’Donnell said. “The award recognizes that the (trail) will provide a meaningful transportation alternative for residents and visitors, as well as an outstanding recreational opportunity for all users.”
The next section of the trail, which will likely go in next spring, will run from the Dune Climb south to Empire. Funding for trail development has come from federal and state grants and foundations, as well as from individual donors. In all the trail is expected to cost more than $10 million.
For information on how to support the SBHT, contact TART Trails at 231- 941-4300, or visit sleepingbeartrail.org.