The vision seems almost as great as the lake itself: connect bike paths, hiking trails and water routes to create a 1,640-mile Lake Michigan Trail around and across the Great Lake.
The first steps to that daunting effort will be taken Nov. 8 and 9 at the Lake Michigan Trail Conference, a series of meetings with representatives from four states and various modes of propulsion to map out unified signage and mileage, water access points, and the bike routes around the lake.
“The objective of this conference will be to establish a long-distance recreational trail that highlights the vast natural beauty of the Lake Michigan shoreline and the many historic, recreational and cultural offerings along its 1,640-mile long coast line,” Dave Lemberg, conference planner and associate professor of Geography at Western Michigan University, told Michigan Live.
In Lemberg’s view, the Lake Michigan Trail would be a Midwest, and tri-modal version of the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail that spans the eastern U.S.
As much as anything, the conference in Saugatuck, Mich., will be an exploration of what is possible, how the various existing routes can be integrated and the tourism/marketing opportunities that could be sought.