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Happy Trails! It’s Spring!

Metroparks, trails, downriver linked greenways

The Best Time to Enjoy Downriver Linked Greenways!

Temperatures are getting warmer; the sun is out well into the evening, and we’re all weary of being cooped up. What better time is there to experience Downriver’s abundant trail systems for a terrific dose of Mother Nature’s parks, and riverfront areas? Plus, Downriver trails are growing and improving. We caught up with Downriver Linked Greenway’s Trail Program Manager, Eric Antolak, for a preview of the progress and plans underway on what has become one of Michigan’s best kept secrets; a trail system connecting more than 5,000 acres of parklands that knits together 18 charming Downriver communities. 

Downriver Linked Greenway’s Trail Program Manager, Eric Antolak

Destination Downriver: Eric, what will trail visitors notice this year on the trails Downriver?

Eric: We’re hard at work filling whatever gaps exist on the system currently. In fact, we’re down to less than 3 ½ miles of gap points in the trail that are slated to see construction work this summer and fall season. One thing trail visitors will immediately notice are 32 new wayfinding signs along the trails that let riders and walkers know what city they’re in and directional info. We have 13 larger signs and 19 smaller signs along the trail all at strategic location to make navigation effortless.

Destination Downriver: What’s the ultimate goal when these trails are fully completed?

Eric: Downriver trail users will be able to safely move themselves between Flat Rock’s Huroc Park all the way to Detroit’s Great Lake Way and Joe Louis Greenway and on into the 22-acre Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park along Detroit’s West riverfront. It’s exciting to be part of what’s an even bigger goal of linking these trails into the Iron Bell trail which will extend more than 2,000 miles from Belle Isle in Detroit.to the western tip of the Upper Peninsula.

Destination Downriver: With Spring already upon us, this is a great time to explore the trails that are part of this Downriver Linked Greenways System. Any suggestions for a nice day trip on the trails that could make for a memorable experience?

Eric: We think going between any of the communities along the Detroit River can present a wonderful experience for bikers and walkers. The ability to tie in stops at the International Wildlife Refuge, cut through one of several Huron Clinton Metroparks or enjoy some of the region’s cool shopping or unique eateries all make for an excellent mini adventure.

Destination Downriver: Anything you’d deem as a “not to be missed” attraction?

Eric: That’s easy! Right here in our backyard on the river we have history in the making with the epic construction project of the Gordie Howe Bridge. You can take the trails up through Wyandotte to River Rouge’s Ballenger Park where you’ll find some great spots to photograph this magnificent structure in progress. That’s not an overly challenging trek depending on where you choose to start and the rewards of capturing that bridge project with some great photos provide memories that will last a lifetime.


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