The City of Portland will be hosting a meeting on January 26, 2017 at City Hall from 9:00am until noon to discuss the ongoing project to develop a water trail along Grand River. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
The Water Strategy includes a recommendation to further develop and implement a Michigan water trails system. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, in collaboration with the Office of the Great Lakes, is working towards a state water trail desig...nation program. The MDNR and the OGL provide assistance and funding to assist communities, regional initiatives and organizations to create and designate water trails. The goal is to develop and maintain a geographically dispersed, locally supported, sustainable system of water trails that offer a diversity of experiences that become a catalyst for improved recreational opportunity, healthy lifestyles and local prosperity. In addition, the OGL has provided technical assistance as well as funding to state and local partners to support water trail promotion, planning, marketing and implementation along Michigan’s Great Lakes coastline.
Representatives from the Grand River Watershed Partnership (Partnership), other non-profits, local communities, and businesses have been discussing the opportunity to develop a Water Trail for the Grand River with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) since November 2015. The Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds (LGROW) has agreed to serve as the Partnerships lead for the initial two years of the effort. LGROW will convene members on a regular basis to discuss progress on the planning and development of the Grand River Water Trail; have direct communication with communities upstream and downstream within the watershed to explain process and expected outcomes; and coordinate outreach to private property owners to address any concerns.
The Grand River, at 262 miles, is the longest river in Michigan. The watershed is the second largest (5,572 sq. miles) and most populated in the state. More than 1.5 million citizens live within the watershed, and thousands more visit and use the river every year. Most communities located on the river, including the major metropolitan areas of Jackson, Lansing and Grand Rapids, have already developed public access sites and continue to promote river activities to enhance the quality of life their citizens.
Designating the Grand River as a Michigan Water Trail will provide a new framework and platform to support, sustain, and coordinate these efforts, and to promote river restoration and recreation. Expected outcomes of the trail include inspiring greater local/regional identity, differentiation, and collaboration and enabling local communities to more fully leverage the strategic advantages and benefits the waterway can deliver.