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Michigan Trails Announces Annual Trail Award Winners to be Awarded During Trails Week
The recognition program was started last year to help unite all trail user groups in Michigan and raise awareness for the significant state and local work that has been done to build the nation's leading trail system. A total of 14 individuals and organizations will be recognized at the Michigan Trail and Greenways Alliance's second annual Trails Award ceremony in the Capitol on September 25th at 9:00 a.m. as a part of its celebration of Michigan Trails Week. The public is invited to attend.
Bob Wilson, MTGA Executive Director, believes that volunteers and local and state trail leaders are the lifeblood of Michigan's trail work. "There is simply no way that Michigan could ever build or maintain the thousands of miles of trails, both land and water without the unique and enduring commitment that our dedicated trail workers have made to this state!"
Michigan has over 12,500 miles of state-designated land trails and close to 4,500 miles of coastal and inland water trails. The MDNR and Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance recently helped to develop a new inland water trail designation process and have worked with Travel Michigan and MDNR to announce new Pure Michigan Trails and Trail Towns. All of these achievements are the result of tireless work by trail volunteers and employees all over Michigan.
Trail advocates being recognized by Michigan Trails in September include Fred Lewis and Bill Hermann for their work on multiuse trails, Gordie Allen for his work on mountain biking trails, Kim Meerhaeghe for her work on water trails and Mary Campbell for her work on hiking trails. Jenny Cook and Don Britton were also announced as trail volunteer award winners for their work on equestrian and motorized trails respectively.
For outstanding work at the government level, Nikki VanBloem and Paul Yauk have been announced as state agency employees of the year for their work on trails for the MDNR. Oakland County's Kristen Wiltfang is being awarded the local government employee of the year for her work on trails in southeast Michigan. State Representative Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor has also been singled out by Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance for her many years of conservation work, including sponsorship of Recreation Passport and numerous pieces of trails-based legislation.
Wilson also commended the commitment of trails businesses all over the state as they helped support trail users and organizations. "We have a great relationship with so many businesses because trails make sense to both communities and the economy," said Wilson. REI will be recognized as Business of the Year for their genuine commitment to getting people outside and support for a new trails grant program recently announced by Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.
Finally, MTGA will also be honoring both Mike Levine and John Calvert as special lifetime achievers for their generational contribution to developing and maintaining trails in Michigan. The two Pinckney residents have been instrumental in helping to build the Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1 which traverses 275 miles from South Haven to Port Huron.
The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is the statewide voice for nonmotorized trail users, helping people build, connect and promote trails for a healthier and more prosperous Michigan. For more information, visit us at www.michigantrails.org or find us on Facebook.
Bob Wilson, Executive Director