Bellaire to Central Lake – Future Trail
Why Connect Bellaire and Central Lake by Trail?
The local community has ranked multi-use trails among the most valued and desirable community recreational assets, and both the Village of Central Lake and the Village of Bellaire are committed to creating safe, healthy, and interconnected communities. The Stakeholder Group envisions that this 6.2 mile multi-use trail will not just be an alternate means of travel but will also serve as a linear park offering unique amenities and programs for residents and tourists.
Research shows that trails make communities better places to live as well as visit. They encourage physical fitness and healthy lifestyles because trails are convenient places to get outside and exercise. They strengthen local economies, protect the environment, and preserve culturally valuable areas.
The trail is intended to be located along scenic highway M-88 within the public right-of-way. This project is currently in conceptual stages with a local group of stakeholders identified and public interest and feedback is being solicited.
Project History and Timeline
The Villages of Central Lake and Bellaire are full of active residents taking advantage of the beautiful outdoor activities Northern Michigan has to offer. In recent years, Central Lake residents have promoted and created a non-motorized trail on the northwest end of the Village of Central Lake called North Street Nature Trail. This trail has shown huge success and is regularly used by residents and tourists of the area. With the wide success of their most recent trail, stakeholders in the area saw the proposed project as a great opportunity to promote community development in the area.
In 2015 the Antrim County Board of Commissioners sponsored a study to investigate ways Antrim County Parks and Conservation could make its way into the 21st century. The study consisted of attitudinal surveys that consistently rated natural resource recreation as one of the most desirable qualities of the community. The county has been working for many years to increase their overall nature preservation through creating natural recreation areas.
Spring 2020 – Initial stakeholder meetings to gauge interest in creating a trail
Feb. 2021 – Rotary Charities grant awarded to fund feasibility study
Summer 2021 – Public surveys and outreach
Feb. 2022 – Feasibility Study completed
Summer 2022 – Stakeholder committee meets and review Feasibility Study
Summer 2023 – Stakeholder committee engages Top of Michigan Trails Council to further trail planning efforts
October 2023 – Stakeholder committee reconvened
November 2023 – Public meeting and outreach
Winter 23-24 – Stakeholders meet with municipalities and townships to share public input
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