It's official: The Iron Belle Trail to take bikers and hikers from Detroit to Ironwood


Detroit's Belle Isle plays a major role in Gov. Rick Snyder's plan for a 'showcase trail' for the state. The island park will act as a starting -- or ending -- point for a 774-mile bicycle route from Detroit to Wisconsin. As state officials found out from a three-week-long contest, hundreds of entrants believe that the park should also play a major role in the naming of the ambitious system of trails and pathways. Michigan announced that the non-motorized route from Detroit to Wisconsin by way of Ironwood, Michigan will henceforth be known as the Iron Belle Trail.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, hundreds of the nearly 9,000 entries in the naming contest proposed a variation of the Iron Belle name. Three entries were randomly drawn as winners. They'll receive vacation packages at either the Henry Ford and Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, or the Kau Wudjoo Lodge at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon (also to be decided randomly).

Once complete, the Iron Belle Trail will consist of a series of on-road and off-road trails and pathways that will form one continuous trail from Detroit to Ironwood. Detroit's Conner Creek Greenway, over nine miles of pathways and bike lanes that connect the city's Maheras Gentry Park with the suburb of Warren, will be one part of that trail. According to the DNR, much of the Iron Belle Trail is already complete, it's just a matter of connecting the pieces.

Officials are pleased with the name. DNR Director Keith Creagh says in a statement, “This name effectively captures the beauty and strength of our state's exceptional natural and cultural resources.”

The Iron Belle Trail traces much of the Michigan portion of the North Country National Scenic Trail. That trail spans 4,600 miles, connecting Vermont to central North Dakota. The Michigan DNR says that many of the uncompleted portions of the Iron Belle Trail provide temporary pathways and that public and private funding is being secured to make them permanent.

Source: Michigan DNR press release
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.