Port Huron’s First Trail Towns committee kicks off 2015!

Opportunities for volunteers interested in Port Huron’s Trail Town Projects!

Port Huron kicks off with its first Trail Towns committee with hope of beginning a number of projects to help amplify the use of the Bay-to-Bridge Trail & Island Loop National Water Trail for residents and visitors.

The new committee was formed at the end of 2014 as a direct result of a regional Trail Towns Coastal Zone Management grant, spearheaded and driven both by staff at Metropolitan Planning of St. Clair County and Land Information Access Association in Traverse City, Michigan.

A Trail Town can be defined as a community in which local officials have used their trail system as the focal point of a tourism-centered strategy for economic development and local revitalization. The concept is rather simple in that it is designed to ensure communities maximize their tourism assets for economic leverage. Outfitting communities for such benefit can also make both urban and rural areas more attractive to live, work and play, a focal point now for many Michigan communities.

The grant, set to officially wrap up in the first quarter of 2015, assessed a number of coastal communities along the Lake Huron shoreline between southern St. Clair County and northern Huron County. Assessments of coastal communities were based on the Trail Town Program, which grew out of Pennsylvania and is “used to maximize the potential of trail-based tourism”.

The committee, comprised of members from the local community, nonprofit organizations and businesses in the area, city and county offices, as well as higher-education professional staff, met in early January to set the stage to transition the Blue Water Area into an even more attractive place to live, work and play.

Committee members identified five areas they thought were essential to move forward with in 2015: Art/Way finding signs, recycling receptacles, interpretative signage, safety buoys and signage, and water/restrooms along the trail. Additional suggestions were offered, but only achievable goals for 2015 will be focused on for the year as most volunteer committee members are busy residents with full time jobs and other activities.

For more information on when Port Huron’s Trail Town Committee meets please contact me (Andy Northrop) at the St. Clair County office. Michigan State University Extension has experts in tourism working throughout Michigan that can assist communities and counties in sustainable tourism development. 

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