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Michigan Trails and City of South Haven Announce Grand Opening of State's Longest Destination Trail
The Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1 links 18 trails through nine southern counties and caps a ten-year vision for the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance and benefactor Mike Levine in connecting the people and communities that make up this key part of Michigan. Beginning in 2009, the idea to work with trail managers of existing trails took root and with the completion of 6 regional trail summits conducted over the past 18 months, culminating in a 6-day Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Inaugural Ride.
The 275-mile destination trail will be unveiled during a ribbon cutting ceremony with Scott Smith, South Haven mayor; Mike Levine, local philanthropist and trail benefactor; Ann Conklin, Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance chair; Brian Dissette, city manager; and Paul Yauk, Michigan Department of Natural Resources state trail coordinator. The ribbon contains the names of all local officials involved in completing the trail and the names of the inaugural group of riders that will depart after the ceremony. Riders will dip their bicycle wheels first in Lake Michigan and then finish their journey in Port Huron dipping those same wheels in Lake Huron.
South Haven Mayor Scott Smith welcomes this new destination trail and its riders. "We are thrilled to host the inaugural ride of the Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1," exclaimed Mayor Smith. "This event celebrates a tremendous accomplishment in connecting our wonderful state via a great network of trails. We also recognize how important this Trail will be in attracting future outdoor enthusiasts for generations to come."
The new destination trail helped confirm South Haven's recent designation as a Pure Michigan Trail Town. "The City of South Haven has long recognized the importance of our land and water-based trail assets for our residents and visitors, and we're so proud of the combined efforts of our city, county and state organizations – as well as an amazing group of trail friends, to develop and promote our trails," explained Brian Dissette, South Haven City Manager. "Serving as the westerly waypoint for the Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1 is such an honor and reflects our long-term community commitment."
Bob Wilson, Executive Director of the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, agreed that destination trails help Michigan retain its leadership role as the nation's leading trail state and to help people connect for a stronger Michigan. "We love this idea of working together for a common vision of a stronger state and the fact that so many local trail and public officials share this same sense of a "trail community" really helped to drive the opening of the trail," Wilson emphasized. "We applaud the work of all trail users and trail lovers that contributed to this trail!"
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 https://michigantrails.org or find us on Facebook under Great Lake-to-Lake Trails, Michigander Bicycle Tour and Michigan Trails. The South Haven/Van Buren County Convention and Visitors Bureau is your local South Haven and West Michigan tourism and vacation experts, discover South Haven at www.southhaven.org.