Macomb County will be celebrating Meet Me on the Trail Day on Sept. 25. Here's how.

Those who want to enjoy the many trails that Macomb County has to offer have no shortage of options. This month, the county's Healthy Parks Collaborative and a variety of local partners are teaming up to highlight exactly what those options are during an event called Meet Me on the Trail Day.

The one-day event will be taking place on Saturday, Sept. 25, at various locations around the county. It's timed to coincide with Michigan Trails Week, which is happening from Sept. 19-26 this year.

The organizers of Meet Me on the Trails Day want to promote health and wellness, while celebrating Macomb County's growing trail system. Activities at affiliated events will include nature hikes, bike rides, natural restoration projects, fishing lessons, picnics, children's games, and presentations.

Maria Zardis, program director for business outreach and communications for Macomb County believes the event is a great way to get acquainted with the county's many outdoor amenities.

"The idea came to us as a way to celebrate Macomb County's many hiking and biking paths, and not necessarily just the big ones that people are familiar with, but also the smaller ones that are in our communities," she says.

A Day to Remember

Macomb County held its first Meet Me on the Trail Day event in 2011 to celebrate the completion of the Macomb-Orchard Trail trailhead in Shelby Township. Although that was a big success, the county didn't have the staff to continue it on their own. So, this time around, they're sponsoring the event in conjunction with a bunch of partners that include local municipalities, Huron-Clinton Metroparks, and nonprofit organizations.

One of the earliest partners to get on board with Meet Me on the Trails day is the Recreational Authority of Roseville & Eastpointe (RARE). It's putting together twoSpindler Park Trail (RARE) related gatherings, one for each of the communities that it serves.

At Spindler Park in Eastpointe, the parks and recreation agency will be putting on a Tails on the Trails event between 10 a.m. and noon. People are invited to bring canine friends with them for several hours of activities that will include a dog parade, frisbee contest, and competitions for best dog costume, best owner/dog look-a-likes, biggest dog, and smallest dog. There will also be giveaways, food and drinks, and vendor tables. Donations will be collected for Detroit Pit Crew Dog Rescue and their APAWS Veterinary Hospital, which will be opening soon in Eastpointe.

That will be followed by a Walk-N-Play event at Veteran's Memorial Park in Roseville from noon to 2 p.m. Families will be able to check out the park's walking and biking path and try out a variety of outdoor games including tug-of-war, kickball, kid's fowling, Giant "It's Dicey" (Yahtzee), Saucer Slam, Baggo, Giant Cannonball Drop, Enorma Egg & Spoon Race, Kangasacks, Crossnet, Ladderball, Giant Tower (Jenga), Washer Toss, and Cliff Hanger. Snacks and refreshments will be available as well.

Anthony Lipinski, RARE's Executive Director sees his agency's Meet Me on the Trail Day activities as a way to spotlight trails in Eastpointe and Roseville.

"This is a good way to get people out and walking for physical fitness, just to get active," he says. "So hopefully they'll come out to try out to either walk their dog or try some of these games." 

Mount Clemens is also getting in on the act. City Manager Donald Johnson says Mount Clemens will be joining in the Meet Me on the Trail Day festivities to help roll out the city's new mascot, a rubber duck named "Paddles." Mount Clemens Mayor Laura Kropp will be formally announcing Paddles at a state of the city speech on Sept. 24. 
 
"We do have a few duck-themed events planned, including a rubber duck race on the Clinton River between the Crocker Street Bridge and the Dickinson Street Bridge," says Johnson.
"We are happy to cooperate with the county and other municipalities in the county on this event.  We hope to see more things like this in the future."
 
Most of the Meet Me on the Trail Day events in Mount Clemens will be taking place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. In addition to the duck race on the river, there will be a chuck a duck game and Boys & Girls Club gaming truck and STEAM related activities at Clinton River Park/City Hall; community art sessions sponsored by Advancing Macomb and a sports equipment showcase by SportPort at Shadyside Park; and duck-themed/river art project, library story walk, and YMCA SportPort event at MacArthur Park/Macomb Family YMCA.  From noon to 8 p.m.,  there will also be a natural health and wellness fair on South main street in downtown Mount Clemens. For those who enjoy music, there will also be an UpTown Friday Night concert in the downtown area, the night prior to Meet Me on the Trail.

Huron Clinton Metroparks is also doing its part to make the day a success. There will be a Get Outside Family Fun event at Lake St. Clair Metropark featuring guided nature hikes, a straw-bale maze, lawn games from  11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and an invasive shrub removal happening at Wolcott Mills Metropark from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Macomb Audubon Society is also recommending self-guided birdwatching at both of those sites as well as Stony Creek Metropark.
 
Other Meet Me on the Trail Day activities include: an Explore the Trails Day event in Chesterfield; a Festival of the Senses Art Walk in Clinton Township; a frisbee throwing event sponsored by Macomb County 4-H, and a photo scavenger hunt at Lake St. Clair Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area and Six Rivers Land Conservancy.

Excited to see Meet Me on the Trail day become a reality, Zardis and her colleagues with Macomb County encourage residents and visitors to travel from place to place to participate in Meet Me on the Trail Day activities.

"We want people to know they are welcome to attend as many events as they like," she says. "We hope to have a good turnout and that people have a good time, so we can grow this in the years to come."

Participants are encouraged to share photos of their Meet Me on the Trail Day experiences with the hashtags: #MeetMeontheTrail #MacombCounty. For more details about Meet Me on the Trail Day events, check out the Make Macomb Your Home website and the Meet Me on the Trail Day interactive map.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Macomb Audubon Society would be giving guided birdwatching tours at local Metroparks for Meet Me on the Trail Day. The organization is actually just recommending self-guided tours at those sites. It is not currently organizing field trips due to COVID.

The Macomb Parks & Trails series seeks to capture the story of the outdoor recreation, greenspace, placemaking, and emerging outdoor assets that are shaping Macomb County's future. It's made possible with funding from Macomb County.
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