by Matt Pegouskie. Photos by Patrice Johnson
Molly Howlett, Stockbridge village president, has realized one of her long held goals for Stockbridge: to create an inviting, user-friendly paved trail along Mike Levine Lakeland Trails State Park.
“I’m so excited to see it finally come to fruition, and isn’t it lovely!” Howlett exclaimed.
As SCN reported July 30, more than a mile of paved surfaces, consisting of 300 tons of smooth asphalt, are available to local hikers. Whether pushing a baby stroller or wheelchair, all who require paved, handicap accessible trails may now enjoy local nature walks from South Clinton Street past Oaklawn Cemetery to East M-106.
Trailhead renovations included paving parking lots, adding better lighting and installing a vault toilet. Upgrades to the trail accommodated equestrian riders on the north side of the trail. To top it off, a new equestrian staging area for loading and unloading horse trailers was also constructed northeast of the updated trailhead.
Continuing north of M-106 and crossing Brogan Road to the Ingham County/Livingston County line, the trail has been widened to ten feet and crushed limestone aggregate added. The improved trail is suitable for walkers, bicycles, and horses. Though the trail itself is ready for action, some landscaping remains to be completed during late summer or early fall.
The majority of the funding for the project came through a grant from Ingham County Trails and Parks Millage with additional financial support from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Mike Levine, the Stockbridge Area Wellness Coalition, and plenty of office support from the 5 Healthy Towns Foundation.
“There were many meetings and lots of paperwork, and we never would’ve been able to complete it all without the help of Matt Pegouskie of 5HF, and John Calvert, who works with Mike Levine and is a major member of the Friends of the Lakeland Trails,” Howlett explained.
The improvements come at a time of various trail projects along Mike Levine Lakelands Trail State Park. Construction recently concluded on upgrades to the trail from the Livingston county line toward Putnam Township, while Michigan DNR construction is ongoing south of Clinton Street in Stockbridge through Munith toward Jackson.
Completion of this Stockbridge-Munith section is expected by mid-September, in time for a new cross-state bike event. Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1 Inaugural Ride will let cyclists dip their tires in two of the Great Lakes, and it will mark the debut of a multi-use trail network in Michigan.
Great Lake-to-Lake Trail ride begins Sept. 13 in the beach town of South Haven and concludes Sept. 19 in Port Huron. Riders are expected to come through the Stockbridge area on Tuesday, Sept. 17.
Howlett smiled. “We’ll be ready for them.”