Column: Tourism focus, Delta County trails

ESCANABA — Have you been hearing a lot about trails lately? I know I have, and it is very exciting for Delta County. Trails have been a big focus of Governor Rick Snyder during his administration and trail development across the state has been growing. Governor Snyder was even a part of a ribbon cutting for a multi-use trail connecting Hermansville to Escanaba last year. There are many trail development plans being implemented across the state that will attract more tourists and connect many Michigan towns, which is great for statewide tourism.

As we heard at Uppertunities, the U.P. Tourism and Professional Development Conference in Harris last month, Pure Michigan is also investing significant resources in promoting multi-use trails. Thousands of miles of trails for passionate hikers, bikers, and miles of water trails, equestrian trails and more than 3,100 miles of off-road vehicle trails are featured in the campaign. With Pure Michigan shining a light on these assets, our trails are sure to see an increase in use from local residents and visitors alike.

Delta County has positioned itself to be an attractive destination for trail enthusiasts thanks to many dedicated partners across the region. The City of Escanaba and Gladstone have done an amazing job developing and maintaining gorgeous trail systems.

Many surrounding areas like Rapid River and the Garden Peninsula continue to develop beautiful trails that will surely see more use in the coming years as well.

Another significant development for trail advancement in our region is the formation of the Delta County Nonmotorized Trails group, DCNT for short. This group of community partners is bringing together our local resources to create and maintain sustainable non-motorized, multi-use trail systems.

Members of DCNT have met with countless stakeholders to learn about the many existing trails and recreation areas throughout the county. They are now in the process of evaluating each property to determine the potential for future trail development.

At a recent DCNT public meeting, attendees were asked to participate in an activity to provide their input on what trails they would like to see developed and to rank the priority of the projects.

The group is making swift progress and is going to drive trail development and awareness in our region. As the Destination Marketing Organization for Delta County, Visit Escanaba is very excited about this group and the progress they are making. Delta County is following the lead of other areas across the state that have found success growing and developing trail systems with similar organizations. DCNT is a very valuable asset for our community and will be a significant contributor to economic development in the region.

There is a swell of momentum in trail usage and development in Delta County and across the state right now, and you can be a part of it. Go out and enjoy our trails and if you would like to be more involved, join the DCNT group.

Visit DCNTrails.com to learn more about how you can help develop our trails. They have membership opportunities for everyone and will be recruiting volunteers for a variety of improvement projects soon. It is a great time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful natural scenery that God has blessed our region with and now is the perfect time to get more involved. Thank you to everyone that is investing their time and passion in developing our trails. You are making Delta County a special place to live and an exciting destination for tourists.

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Robert Micheau is executive director of Visit Escanaba

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