A new multi-purpose trail has been completed from Petoskey to Mackinaw City, and planners, collaborators and builders will celebrate on Friday, Sept. 16 in Pellston, which marks the half-way point of the trail.
At Noon, Pellston Village Park will be the scene of a ribbon cutting for the trail, some presentations by state and local officials, and a picnic lunch courtesy of the Village of Pellston. All are invited to attend, and encouraged to ride their bikes from points north and south to this celebration of the new trail.
The North Western State Trail (NWST) runs along the former Grand Rapids and Indiana line of the Pennsylvania Railroad (once known as “The Fishing Line”) that opened in 1882 and continued in some areas until 1992. The NWST is 32 miles in length and connects Petoskey and Mackinaw City. A 7.5-mile paved section of the trail, from Petoskey to Alanson, was completed in 2013. The 23-mile Alanson to Mackinaw City segment was improved over the last year with two new bridges and a 10-foot-wide packed crushed limestone surface. The trail is open to all non-motorized uses year-round and to snowmobiles from December 1 to March 31.
The Top of Michigan Trails Council helped coordinate the various NWST projects with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Transportation, Emmet County and the Emmet County Road Commission. Primary funding for the projects has come from the Federal Transportation Alternatives Program, Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Recreation Improvement Fund, Recreation Trails Program and Emmet County.
Locally, the completion of the NWST creates connections to every incorporated community within Emmet County. But an even more exciting possibility provided by the trail was indicated recently by Emily Meyerson, MDNR Northern Michigan Trails Coordinator, when she said, “You can now go from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron–140 miles–on interconnected multi-use trails. This new trail allows a user to travel from Charlevoix to Petoskey, on to Mackinaw City, to Cheboygan and then to Alpena.”
For more information about the Grand Opening of the NWST, or about any of the trails in TOMTC’s network throughout Northern Michigan, call Jeff Winegard at (231) 348-8280.