Border to Border Trail Update
Segment J and L1 Near Completion
Trails,trails,and more trailsthats what County residents have told the WCPARC they want most of all! As a result, the 35-mile Border to Border Trail is WCPARCs major development initiativea multi-agency effort to create a non-motorized, multiuse trail through the Huron River corridor. In 1999, the Urban Area Transportation Study (UATS) suggested linking the 400 acres of public land in the river corridor from border to border. Later that same year, the Parks Commission assembled the Greenways Advisory Committee (GAC) to assist the County in the development of greenway policies and plans. Almost immediately, GAC recommended that the Huron River corridor be given the highest priority for greenway implementation due to its potential to provide public benefits such as education/interpretation, resource conservation, non-motorized transportation, and recreation. For planning and implementation purposes, the Border to Border trail was split into 13 major segmentslabeled A to Mconnecting Livingston County in the north to Wayne County in the southeast.
Segment J - WCC/SJMH Trail
In 2000, the segment between Ann Arbor and Ypsilantiknown as Segment Jbecame the highest priority due to its proximity to potential users. Over the next two years, WCPARC obtained significant funding for trail construction from the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan, and the Federal Transportation Enhancement Program administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The 2.0 mile main trail runs past the Washtenaw Community College (WCC) and around Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital (SJMH). Two side trails, each with custom designed observation decks, provide incredible views of the Huron River below. Construction began in the spring of 2004 and was completed this fall.
This segment begins at Michigan Avenue in the City of Ypsilanti and extends southward to the Ypsilanti Township border, where it connects with the Townships Grove Road bike trail on Ford Lake. The northern portion of Segment L includes the citys Rivers Edge Park where WCPARC has agreed to provide $150K to build 1.0 mile of non-motorized trail along the Huron River; to be constructed in 2005. This will connect existing trails in Riverside and Frog Island parks with Gilbert and Waterworks parks to the south. The southernmost portion, known as Segment L1, is a small (about 1000 feet) but important connector linking existing trails in North Bay Park with the trailhead of the Grove Road bike trail, which in turn connects to Loon Feather Park further down the shore of Ford Lake. While steep slopes along the river presented considerable challenges in building Segment L1, the 30 foot drop down to the river created the opportunity for an attractive overlook area. This small sub-segment opened to the public in the fall; completion will occur spring 2005.
Still in the conceptual phase, this segment will include two sub-segments known as the River Terrace and Park Connector trails. The River Terrace trail begins in the Village of Dexter and proceeds 1.4 miles along the south shore of the Huron River to the northern boundary of Dexter Huron Metropark. At that point, a proposed bridge will connect to existing park trails on the opposite side of the river. The Park Connector trail then continues 2.9 miles downriver linking the Dexter Huron and Delhi Metroparks.
Hudson Mills Segment C
This important trail segment is entirely within HCMAs Hudson Mills Metropark - a total of 4.7 miles through high quality landscape. For funding and implementation the project has been divided into two partsPhase 1, the northern 2.1 miles; and Phase 2, the southern 2.6 miles (see map on page 3). HCMA and WCPARC are co-sponsors of this project which has received funding from the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Phase 1 begins at the Huron River crossing of the North Territorial Road bridge and runs downstream along the west side of the river for 2.0 miles. At this point in the trail, a bridge over the Huron River is proposed to connect Phase 1 to the existing hike/bike trail in the park. Phase 2 will continue an additional 2.6 miles to the Village of Dexter. Currently, the construction of Phase 1 is scheduled for summer 2005; funding is not yet available for Phase 2. The bridge is intended to create a new loop trail. Once Phase 1 is implemented, Phase 2 could be eligible for federal and state funds dedicated to transportation projects as it would then be considered a transportation link.
With the recent renewal of the County Parks and Recreation millage, County residents can expect to see more trails throughout the Huron River corridor and the County each year until the grand vision of a continuous, multiuse trail from border to border is accomplished.