By The Daily News Staff
& The Associated Press
IRONWOOD - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says the state will work to create a 599-mile hiking and biking trail stretching from Belle Isle park in Detroit to Ironwood on the Wisconsin border in the western Upper Peninsula.
Snyder's proposal would build on existing trails. He's directing the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to work with private and nonprofit partners to make the full route a reality.
"Michigan has more total trail miles than just about any other state," Snyder said in address on energy and the environment. "Much of the credit goes to volunteers who have shoveled, raked, trimmed and groomed these trails on their own time and often at their own expense."
"This shows the real appetite Michiganders have for quality trails, and points to the opportunity we have to be the No. 1 trail state," he said.
"We can reach that goal much faster together," Snyder said. "I am directing the DNR, Michigan Snowmobile and Trail Advisory Committee, Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, the MEDC, the MDARD and the MDOT to align and prioritize their efforts to support and create trail connections."
"All these entities will reach out to local communities as partners, helping them to maximize the economic return from trail use," Snyder said. "We can and will seek to make Michigan the Trail State."
"As the Trail State, we will need a showcase trail that celebrates these efforts and pulls together private and public trails into a signature Pure Michigan experience," Snyder said. "With the addition of approximately 200 miles of additional trails in the Lower Peninsula and the U.P., we could hike or bike from Belle Isle to the Wisconsin border."
"Today, I am directing DNR to focus on connecting those trails, through cooperation with private and non-profit partners and the use of their own resources," he said.
The project would need 81.5 miles of new trails in the Lower Peninsula and 152 miles in the Upper Peninsula.
In the address, Snyder said Michigan could one day be known as the Trail State. He says the Detroit-to-Ironwood project would create a "signature" experience.