by Dan Spegel
Thirty people attended a meeting at the Stockbridge Library on Wed., March 27 to learn about a project that will interpret history along the Mike Levine Lakelands Trail from Hamburg to Jackson. Dan Spegel, Heritage Trail Coordinator for the Michigan DNR’s Michigan History Center, and Josh Kaminski, graduate student from Eastern Michigan University, facilitated the meeting, hosted by the Stockbridge Area Wellness Coalition, Capital Area District Libraries and the Stockbridge Area Genealogical-Historical Society.
Spegel launched the meeting with a presentation on the value of adding history to the trail.
“The landscape and communities along a trail are like the last page you’ve read in a book,” he said. “For it to make sense, you need to know what the previous chapters say. That’s what adding natural and cultural history does, it provides context for that place. It identifies why this place is special and unique, which enriches the trail experience.” Spegel added that the history interpreted on the trail should be authentic and inclusive.
Attendees were then given an opportunity to share what they felt were the important historical stories and topics along the trail corridor. One person said Stockbridge was a portage point between the Huron and Grand River watersheds, making it possible for Native Americans to travel from Lake Erie to Lake Michigan almost entirely by canoe.
Other stories touched on the old Bartlett Resort on Pleasant Lake that hosted major acts like the Glenn Miller Band. Another delved into the important role that Hispanic and Appalachian migrant workers have played in building these agricultural communities.
Moving forward, Kaminski will lead a committee to determine which topics and stories should be shared on the trail. This group will also identify historical resources and images to develop the interpretive panels. Those interested in participating on this committee and all who have historical images or stories that could be useful for the project, please contact Kaminski at firstname.lastname@example.org.