DETROIT (AP) - A new hiking and bicycling trail stretching hundreds of miles through Michigan will officially be called Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail, officials announced Monday.
The trail will run from Belle Isle Park in Detroit to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula along the border with Wisconsin. Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh said in a statement the name “effectively captures the beauty and strength of our state’s exceptional natural and cultural resources.”
The DNR last year accepted name suggestions for the trail as part of a contest; more than 8,800 ideas were received.
Portions already are open in Michigan’s Lower and Upper peninsulas, with additional segments planned to debut this year. The Parks and Recreation Division of the DNR, as well as other partners, is seeking private and public funding to secure and develop trail corridors.
“The hard work and thoughtful vision that have for years gone into Michigan’s existing trail system and future connectors help to lay the groundwork for completion of this important cross-state trail,” Creagh said.
Proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2012, the trail will provide a 1,259-mile hiking route and a 774-mile bicycling route. A large portion of it follows the existing North Country National Scenic Trail, which runs from the New York-Vermont border to central North Dakota.
Creagh picked the name based on recommendations from a committee that includes partners on the project: The Michigan Trails Advisory Council, the Michigan Economic Development Corp, the Michigan Recreation and Park Association and the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.
The trail-naming contest took place in September and October, with entries submitted via online survey, Facebook and on paper. Three contest winners were selected in a random drawing.
The winners were Amanda Mailer of Rochester, Matthew Husted of Jerome and John Meikle of Lapeer, Michigan. Each will get one of three vacation prize packages for locations along the trail: The Detroit area, Mackinac Island and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
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