Free park admission Sept. 28
Celebrate Michigan Trails Week by getting outside and getting on a trail. Held Sept. 21-28 in the outdoor playground called Michigan, the week pays tribute to the state’s 12,000 miles of trails by offering a variety of events statewide, featuring activities from hiking to biking to kayaking and more.
The week culminates on Sept 28, National Public Lands Day, with free entry to all federal and state parks and participating local parks throughout Michigan and the opportunity for volunteerism—the statewide work bee—to support and maintain these trails. This year marks the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day. Access to Michigan state parks normally requires a Recreation Passport; that will be waived on Sept. 28. The special events, trail maintenance and clean-up opportunities and free admission are made possible by communities and organizations throughout the state in partnerships with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Michigan Recreation and Park Association (MRPA), and the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance (MTGA).
This month, Gov. Rick Snyder proclaimed the recreational, health and economic benefits of the state’s trail system with his second annual proclamation of Michigan Trails Week. In his proclamation, the governor states that the trail system provides several billion dollars to Michigan’s economy and a low-cost means to improve individual health, which can, in return, reduce health care costs.
“Michigan is a national leader in the number of miles of trails, providing tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities and substantial benefits to the state’s economy,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “From our state’s extensive inland water opportunities to more than 3,800 miles of trails used by off-road enthusiasts, Michigan is home to a unique variety and quantity of trails. Trails are resources to be celebrated not just during Michigan Trails Week, but all year long.”
The governor’s proclamation also pays tribute to the most popular means of enjoying the out-of-doors through trail-related activities, including hiking, walking, snowmobiling, running, biking, horseback riding, paddling, and using off-road vehicles. According to Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, whether you’re a novice or an expert, getting out on the trails during Michigan Trails Week and each week afterward is an important part of staying active and experiencing the state’s natural resources.
“Put on your well-worn hiking shoes or experience kayaking for the very first time,” he said. “Events held during this week are a great match for both the experienced and beginning trail user. From guided trail hikes to trail runs to bike rides and free kayaking programs through Recreation 101, there is something for everyone. Make this the start of your healthy, active lifestyle.”
All Michigan Trails Week events are found at www.michigan.gov/trailsweek.