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The Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission (WCPARC) has entered into a Public-Private-Partnership with the Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative (HWPI) with the goals of expanding and accelerating completion of the Border-to-Border Trail (B2B).
Inspired by other trails in Michigan and the recent success of the B2B in the Dexter area, HWPI formed as a grass-roots group in late 2015 and, through conversations with WCPARC and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, conceived the idea of the “Huron Waterloo Loop”. The Loop is a 44-mile route that traverses from Dexter to Chelsea and on to Stockbridge where it joins with the existing Lakelands Trail, which has a planned connection to the B2B east of Pinckney. The trail will then connect back through Hudson Mills Metropark to Dexter. The Loop has officially been incorporated into the B2B network, bringing the total distance to 70 miles (originally 35) with approximately 40 miles of trail existing today.
HWPI and WCPARC (along with other public agency partners) will be working together to complete the remaining 30 miles of trail, estimated to cost $37 million, which includes the seven mile gap along the Huron River between Dexter and Ann Arbor. The primary goal of HWPI is to raise approximately $20 million in private funding to augment WCPARC’s public funds, which can be used to leverage state and federal grant sources, thereby accelerating the rate of completion of the B2B.
Our first joint project began construction this spring: 2.6 miles along M-52 north of Chelsea from Werkner Road to the Green Lake Campground. The second phase should be underway later this year to extend the project another 2.1 miles to North Territorial Road. Additionally, a 1.2 mile segment from Dexter-Huron Metropark east to Zeeb Road along the Huron River is anticipated to begin construction in fall 2018.
These B2B projects are also part of the statewide “Iron Belle Trail,” further elevating the significance of the trail and partnership. On April 17, 2018, Governor Rick Snyder announced $11 million in private donations to the statewide Iron Belle Trail—$3.25 million of which was granted to HWPI and will directly assist with our local segments of the B2B!
HWPI has launched its fundraising drive: the “Karen’s Trail” campaign, named in honor of Karen McKeachie, a world-class triathlete who was killed in August 2016 while bicycling on Dexter-Chelsea Road. The Karen’s Trail campaign is expected to increase community awareness about the importance of completing the B2B and seeks to raise $1 million in small donations to match the $1 million that was donated to the B2B by the McKeachie family.