DNR seeks partners for linear trail maintenance|
State recreation officials today announced they are recruiting assistance to help maintain the five (5) State Park Linear Trails which constitute 174 miles of former railroad right-of-way now serving as Linear Trails throughout Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Traditionally, the Department of Natural Resource’s Parks and Recreation Bureau spends nearly $600,000 each year to provide staff and maintenance to the linear parks managed by the Parks Bureau. Unlike state parks, the linear trails are not supported by fees collected from Motor Vehicle Permits or camping fees. In light of continued budget strain and personnel shortages at other state parks following last year’s round of early retirements, Bureau officials early this month reassigned nine trails staff to work at various state park operations near their previous work locations.
Trails impacted by the shift include:
* the 22-mile Hart-Montague Trail from Hart to Montague;
* the 34-mile Kal-Haven Trail from South Haven to Kalamazoo;
* the 13-mile Van Buren Trail from Hartford to South Haven;
* the 92-mile White Pine Trail from Belmont to Cadillac; and
* the 13-mile Lakelands Trail from Pinckney to Stockbridge.
“We are asking volunteers to partner with the DNR to keep these trails open,” said DNR Parks Chief Lowen Schuett. “By enlisting the support of individual trail users, ‘friends’ groups, and even local government units, the trail system can remain available to users and the DNR can focus staff and resources in the most critically-needed areas.”
Picking up litter, clearing small limbs, raising funds to maintain vault toilets and repairing washouts are among the tasks groups and individuals will be asked to perform. Serious problems such as large fallen trees blocking the trail or washouts should be reported to the Parks Bureau at 517-373-9900. Small groups are encouraged to form Friends groups or formally adopt portions of the trails.
Anyone interested in volunteering should call the Parks and Recreation Bureau at 517-373-9900.