It’s Michigan Trails Week and local parks offer unique opportunities to celebrate it.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed September 22nd through the 29th as Michigan Trails Week - which celebrates the various outdoor gems across the state offering access to the natural world for recreation, education, exploration, solitude and inspiration. There are more than 1,000 miles of trails throughout the Southeast Michigan region that offer opportunities for different hobbies and interests such as walking, biking, hiking, jogging, paddling, roller blading and horseback riding. 400 of those miles are trails within parks or along rivers.

Huron-Clinton Metroparks Director Amy McMillan tells WHMI no place has better trails for any type of outdoor recreation activity. She says for most visitors, coming out to the parks is about just getting out on the trails and doing what makes them feel best when moving outdoors, adding it’s that time of year when the colors are just starting to turn and it will only get better and better. McMillan says Kensington Metropark is famous for its challenging terrain for people who are serious bicyclers or training for races – adding the scenery is second to none and there is a really high level experience of cycling. She says it’s also great for a leisurely bike ride or for people who want to walk or run for exercise or those who just love the trails and want to get outside and get some fresh air. McMillan says Huron Meadows Metropark has eleven miles of trails and some of the views are incredible while Hudson Mills has great trails for hiking and biking. There are also various water trails to experience.

For the parks’ western district that includes Livingston County, she says the Huron River is right in the backyard. McMillan says it’s a beautiful natural river and very serene, adding it’s an entirely different experience being out on the water. For those that down have a canoe or kayak, she says there are liveries up and down different rivers and all kinds of opportunities to be out.
Connectivity is also a big focus throughout the parks included in the five-county network. Some are linked together by connected trails while others connect into other trail systems across Michigan. Dexter Huron and Delhi Metroparks in the Dexter area feature a trail traveling along the Huron River and is part of Washtenaw County’s Border to Border Trail (B2B) and Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail.

Meanwhile, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments is also promoting Michigan Trails Week, saying the expanding trail system is an important community asset that impacts both the local and regional economy. SEMCOG offers an interactive online map and mobile application - Southeast Michigan ParkFinder. It features information about parks in the region and the various amenities at each. The Southeast Michigan Trail Explorer is integrated into ParkFinder and allows users to virtually tour 1,000 miles of regional water and land trails.

Further details about the various parks and amenities can be found through the provided link. (JM)