MTGA Offers Sessions for Managing Increased Trail Use During COVID-19
"As families are looking for someplace to recreate responsibly, we are hearing that trail use has increased, on average by 200% nationwide,"
To help trail managers form new strategies, MTGA is co-hosting the Mid-American Trails & Greenways (MATAG) Conference along with the West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition and Michigan Recreation and Park Association on August 18, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. – noon. Two sessions will be offered: "In Times of Crisis, Keeping Trail Policy Relevant with Elected Officials", and "Managing Trails through Times of Crisis".
The "In Times of Crisis" session includes discussion of a revealed lack of equity and feeling of safety on trails within our citizens of color. The moderated panel of high-level elected officials led by Senator Peter MacGregor, Senate Majority Floor Leader, R-Rockford, will discuss state trail caucuses, crisis response, and economic recovery. The "Managing Trails" session will explore the evolving understanding of the importance of trails in our communities, what techniques worked and didn't work during the pandemic response and how to create welcoming spaces for all members of our communities.
"Michigan is home to thousands of miles of trails and is better positioned, perhaps more than any other state, to accommodate the increasing number of people who are seeking socially-distanced outdoor adventures that are both good for them and the environment,"
A second virtual Great Lake-to-Lake Trail Etiquette Summit will take place on August 25 from 10:00 a.m. – noon and focus on educating trail users on proper trail etiquette. MTGA is conducting a statewide trail user study on etiquette and will discuss the results with trail managers and enthusiasts at the summit. The study surveys all nonmotorized trail user groups and will be used to develop a common approach to trail etiquette. MTGA encourages all trail users to take the survey at Trail User Etiquette Survey.
Survey data will help trail managers decide upon the most effective educational signs for shared trail use. Once participants agree upon messaging, MTGA will design new metal signs and mail them to trail managers and groups for use on their trail.
MTGA is working diligently to complete remaining connections on the Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1, a new destination trail that stretches 275 miles from South Haven to Port Huron. Managing this and all multiuse trails in times of crisis is of utmost importance and we encourage trail managers to learn more through participation in the free August conferences. Interested individuals should visit http://www.matag.org/
The Michigan Trails & 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 www.michigantrails.org or find us on Facebook.
Andrea LaFontaine, Executive Director