DNR Awards $250,000 for Projects Along Iron Belle Trail


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has awarded 15 counties nearly $250,000 to develop the Iron Belle Trail, a biking and hiking trail spanning from Belle Isle to the Upper Peninsula.

Each grant recipient was awarded up to $25,000 for planning, engineering and design projects along either the hiking route or the bicycle route of Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail. The funds were part of the 2015 budget for the non-motorized trail program.

The following is a list of counties where trail projects will be funded and the award amounts:

  1. Shelby Township (Macomb County) – $20,000 to design and build a 10-foot-wide, non-motorized asphalt trail that eventually will provide a connection from the existing trail in River Bends Park to Gene Shepherd Park in Shelby.
  2. Brandon/Groveland Township (Oakland County) – $14,800 to conduct a route-planning study for 5.5 miles of trail through Brandon Township and 1 mile through Groveland Township. The project includes cost estimates, right-of-way meetings, public meetings and mapping.
  3. Frankenlust Township (Bay County) – $25,000 to complete asphalt paving of approximately 1 mile of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail.
  4. Plainfield Township (Iosco County) – $18,500 to conduct a route-planning study to connect Plainfield Township trail to a segment of the Iron Belle.
  5. Crawford County Road Commission (Crawford County) – $25,000 to conduct preliminary engineering for a 40-mile trail connecting North Higgins Lake State Park, the city of Grayling, Hartwick Pines State Park and Otsego Lake State Park.
  6. County of Otsego (Otsego County) – $20,000 to develop alternatives for a downtown trailhead along the Iron Belle.
  7. City of Gladstone (Delta County) – $25,000 to complete engineering on 2.5 miles of Little Bay de Noc Trail, which will connect to the Iron Belle and provide access to waterfront in Delta County, as well as viewing and fishing platforms for trail users.
  8. Michigan Western Gateway Trail Authority (Gogebic County) – $25,000 to fund 4.2 miles of engineering assistance for trail from Ironwood to Bessemer on existing railroad grade. Four bridges also require decking and handrail upgrades.
  9. County of Marquette (Marquette County) – $14,500 to build and maintain new and existing sections of trail. Labor to be provided through Superior Watershed Partnership and Great Lakes Conservation Corps.
  10. Tahquamenon Falls State Park (Chippewa County) – $3,300 to build a 250-foot, raised walkway on North Country National Scenic Trail.
  11. City of Petoskey (Emmet County) – $10,000 to build a pedestrian bridge over Bear River on North Country National Scenic Trail, connecting the Petoskey River Road Sports Complex trail system to the North Central Michigan College Natural Area trail system.
  12. North Country Trail Association (Kalamazoo County) – $3,200 to build a 30-foot bridge in Fort Custer Recreation Area, beginning fall 2015.
  13. North Country Trail Association (Kalamazoo County) – $5,890 to replace 350 feet of existing type 1-puncheon materials in Fort Custer National Cemetery, improving safety and accessibility.
  14. City of Jackson (Jackson County) – $15,000 to conduct a route-planning study through downtown Jackson, considering safety, cost, constructability and easement availability.
  15. North Country Trail Association (Calhoun County) – $9,000 to secure private property easements along the hiking route of the Iron Belle.
  16. Downriver Linked Greenways (Wayne County) – $15,000 to conduct a gap analysis to better understand the proposed route’s condition, prioritize construction and make plans for trail completion.