2018-05-31 / Outdoors

Palmer Woods to add biking trail

By Grant McPherson
Of The Enterprise staff


JIM, JOAN, Denny and Connie Andres pose with the sign at the halfway point of the loop trail in the Palmer Woods Forest Reserve. JIM, JOAN, Denny and Connie Andres pose with the sign at the halfway point of the loop trail in the Palmer Woods Forest Reserve. Palmer Woods Forest Reserve Trail System is getting the extension the people of Leelanau County wanted.

The Leelanau Conservancy recently announced that work for the expansion of the of Palmer Woods Forest Reserve trail system is set to begin at the end of this summer.

The Conservancy will hire a professional trail-building company to lead the design and construction of the new loop added to the existing network of hiking and ski trails. The new trail will be exclusively for mountain bikers.

A contractor will be announced in the coming weeks.

The new first loop will be a singletrack mountain-biking trail separate from the existing trails and is expected to open in the fall of 2018.

“We heard from our community that families want more high-quality outdoor recreation opportunities close to home, so we are thrilled to begin building some of the first mountain-biking trails in Leelanau County,” said Tom Nelson, executive director of the Conservancy. “We couldn’t be doing it without the support of our partners, in particular the Northern Michigan Mountain Biking Association (NMMBA) and Bike Leelanau.”


CONNIE, JOAN and Denny Andres (from left) read about the loop trail as they walk along during the day. CONNIE, JOAN and Denny Andres (from left) read about the loop trail as they walk along during the day. By the end of 2019, the Conservancy anticipates Palmer Woods will offer more than 6 miles of mountain-biking trails and nearly 7 miles of hiking and groomed cross-country ski trails, all for public use. When the Palmer Woods expansion is complete in 2021, it is expected to have more than 9 miles of hiking and skiing trails and more than 11 miles of mountain-biking trails.

“We’re really excited to partner with the Leelanau Conservancy as they lead the way in recognizing the importance of expanding mountain biking and access to the outdoors in Leelanau County,” Cody Sprattmoran, NMMBA board member and co-founder of Bike Leelanau, said. “The return on investment when you build multi-use trails is 10-to-1, so these trails will stimulate the economy and enhance the quality of life for local families.”


A VIEW of the loop trail at the Palmer Woods Forest Reserve. The mile-long loop is surrounded by the trees and sights to see. A VIEW of the loop trail at the Palmer Woods Forest Reserve. The mile-long loop is surrounded by the trees and sights to see. When the comprehensive trail system is complete, Palmer Woods will be a four-season recreational destination for all ages and abilities of hikers, traditional cross-country skiers, skate skiers and mountain bikers.

The Cherry Republic has also been a big help in bringing the project to life.

Cherrypalooza, a partnership event to launch Cherry Republic’s new brewpub will kickoff fundraising for the Palmer Woods Trail system Expansion Project, will take place on June 16 in Glen Arbor.

All proceeds will go toward the trail system expansion project. For more information or to buy tickets, visit cherryrepublic.com.

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