The Traverse City to Charlevoix Trail (TVC-CHX) will connect communities across three counties in northwest lower Michigan and aims to link TART Trails’ 28 mile trail system between Suttons Bay and Acme Township with Top of Michigan Trail Council’s 26 mile Little Traverse Wheelway Trail starting in Charlevoix. Closing the 46 mile Traverse City to Charlevoix gap will create a 325 mile non-motorized transportation and recreation trail network in northern lower Michigan.
The trail design, engineering and constructing process is centered on community input. TART Trails and its partners rely on community driven input to direct and advance the TC to Charlevoix Trail. The planning committee consists of representatives from each of the townships that proposed pathway connects as well as local organization leaders and interested individuals. This working group has developed a recommended action plan that breaks the trail corridor into three manageable segments: Acme to Elk Rapids, Elk Rapids to Eastport, and Eastport to Charlevoix. Local teams are being developed within each of the three segments to help with planning, engineering and trail completion.
The 46 mile Traverse City to Charlevoix Trail will serve people across a large geographical area, and cross multiple jurisdictions including three counties (Charlevoix, Antrim, and Grand Traverse) seven townships (Acme, Elk Rapids, Milton, Torch Lake, Banks, Norwood, and Charlevoix), property owned by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and the Village of Elk Rapids. As a result, multi-jurisdictional cooperation will be necessary to construct, manage, and maintain the trail. There are many benefits associated with the creation of a collaborative partnership to address trail development, long term operations, management, and maintenance. Partner roles and responsibilities may include property acquisition and ownership, development of trail and associated amenities and facilities (trailheads, signage and restrooms), management authority, maintenance, fundraising, policing and law enforcement, volunteer recruitment and management, promotion, programming, and events.
To construct 46 miles of trail from Acme to Charlevoix will require a comprehensive strategy utilizing state and federal grants, contributions from the local units of government, and other private funding.
The Traverse City to Charlevoix Trail (TVC-CHX Trail) has an ambitious goal to connect two regional trail networks that link the communities of Traverse City, Acme, Elk Rapids, Eastport, Norwood and Charlevoix with nearly 300 miles of existing trails from Alpena to Suttons Bay. This requires combining what trail users want with suitable land and road right-of-ways that can support a non-motorized recreation and transportation trail. The trail will pass through beautiful scenery and provide access to 24 public amenities including parks, beaches, natural areas, communities, and other destinations along the US-31 corridor. The project builds on the vision of more than a decade of community groups working to make trail connections.
Agriculture along the trail represents historic and present-day business and cultural practices that are major economic drivers in the region. The path will be designed, with recommendations and input from the agricultural community, in a way that respects and celebrates the importance of the agricultural community, while limiting user conflicts.
The TVC-CHX Trail will connect to and be a part of Michigan’s non-motorized trail system, which allows visitors and residents to hike, bike, ski, run, walk, and explore the great outdoors, along with our cities and villages. The public will be invited to take advantage of the pathway and enjoy the recreation and transportation opportunities it will provide for locals and tourists alike.
A high priority in the TVC-CHX Trail planning process is to minimize the number of road crossings to the extent possible. Michigan Department of Transportation design and engineering standards will be maintained along with experienced MDOT trail engineers/designers input throughout the development process.
It has become common for trail groups in Michigan to request access to privately held lands for trail development. Landowners often have questions concerning their risks, liability, and responsibility. The Michigan legislature addresses this issue through the “Recreational Use Statute” to encourage land owners and managers to allow public access for recreation on their lands. The statute offers landowners a very good assurance of protection with the exception of instances of gross negligence. For an online version follow the link: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(rok4w1rshd15zmgvgrwtwazn))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-324-73301
MDOT considers a trail a transportation facility and the right-of-way may be used for the purpose of maintaining and constructing facilities.
There are many benefits of trails that impact the community, whether you are an active trail user or not. Studies have shown that trails make our communities more livable, improve the economy through tourism and civic improvement, preserve and restore open space, and provide opportunities for physical activity to improve fitness and mental health.