The First Crossing of the Great Lake to Lake Trails Begins Now and Ends with Michigan Trails Week!

Chris Bowman, the bicyclist (left) and Chris Hillier, the hiker (right) prepare to “Chris-cross” the Great Lake to Lake Trail.

Chris Bowman, the bicyclist (left) and Chris Hillier, the hiker (right) prepare to “Chris-cross” the Great Lake to Lake Trail.

On September 13 through September 28th, a hiker and a bicyclist will boost public awareness of the Great Lake to Lake Trail from South Haven to Port Huron by being the first users to follow the route of what supporters hope will become a major destination trail for cyclists and other users.  The Great Lake to Lake Trail Route 1 is an approximately 250+ mile route connecting 15 existing Michigan rail-trails and seven connecting segments that are currently on the drawing board. Chris Hillier, 45, from Taylor, MI, will leave Lake Michigan at South Haven on the Kal-Haven Trail on September 13th, and hike more than 20 miles per day through Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Jackson, Pinckney, Pontiac, and Port Huron before ending up at Lake Huron on the Bridge to Bay Trail on Saturday, September 28th.  Chris Bowman, 37, from Rose City, MI, will cycle the same route, covering approximately 40 miles per day during Michigan Trails Week, September 21-28th, and arrive together with hiker, Hillier, in Port Huron on Saturday, September 28th.  A return trip to the starting point is being arranged through Amtrak to highlight that travel option as the Blue Water Amtrak corridor parallels the Great Lake to Lake Trail from Port Huron to Kalamazoo and now offers roll-on bicycle service.   Both travelers will speak to elected officials, business owners and trail users along the route, invite friends and other interested parties to join them for portions of it, and provide a commentary of their perspectives of the trail and photos along the way. A more detailed itinerary will be available soon at https://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com and

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/carbonfootprint76

Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is sponsoring a portion of the pair’s trip expenses. They are both seeking other sponsorships as well.  The Trails and Greenways Alliance is in the midst of fundraising for the next phase of development of the Great Lake to Lake Trail, Route 1.  This includes launching a Great Lake to Lake Trails website, signage in “ready” areas, further assistance to local groups and fundraising for completion in the gaps.  It is hoped that the added visibility of this “First Crossing” event will continue to build public awareness of the potential economic impact of the project and raise dollars towards its completion.  For more information on the Great Lake to Lake Trails project and to donate, see
www.michigantrails.org/projects.

Great Lake to Lake Trails Routes 2-5 are all in various stages of planning and development.  Route 1 will be the longest of the 5, comes the closest to the highest population centers in the state, and links up the most local jurisdictions, which will, in turn, maximize their collective economic and health benefits.