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During Michigan Trails Week Challenge, every mile counts

LANSING — Are you up for a challenge? During Michigan Trails Week (Sept. 20-27), the Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance invite Michiganders to pay tribute to trails and collectively walk, run, ride, hike, bike or paddle 100,000 miles.

Michigan is home to 13,000-plus miles of diverse, state-managed trails, plus thousands of miles of local, county and federally managed trails and pathways. Trail veterans and newcomers can help make every mile count by tracking mileage spent on any nonmotorized trail in the state during these eight days.

trails week

“Michigan Trails Week is the perfect time to get out and explore Michigan’s amazing network of trails,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “Whether it’s on your first trail, your favorite trail or one brand new to you, the Michigan Trails Week Challenge is for anyone and everyone who wants to get out of the house and connect with nature.

“Explore Michigan and report your mileage; it’s that easy. Participants earn badges for completing miles – any distance counts. Every badge earned is another entry in a drawing for cool outdoor gear and Michigan branded prizes.”

You earn a badge when you register for the event and log at least 1 mile, and then every time you:

– Horseback ride for 5 miles.

– Walk, run or hike for 5 miles.

– Bike for 10 miles.

– Paddle for 2 miles.

There is no limit to the number of badges that can be earned. The more mileage you log, the more badges you earn, and that boosts your chances to win and helps the DNR and Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance reach the 100,000-mile goal.

three hikers on trails at Wilderness State Park

“During this past year, trails have provided me with endless peace of mind,” said Andrea LaFontaine, executive director of the Michigan Trails and Greenway Alliance. “Now, more than ever, we are seeing the importance of trails to our personal well-being and to our communities. I encourage you to invite a friend, recruit a family member and sign up for the event. I look forward to hitting the trails with you, virtually!”

The Michigan Trails Week Challenge is also an opportunity for people to support trails by donating to projects in need of help. The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance will act as fiduciary, ensuring that all monies raised for specific trail projects will go directly to those projects. In that spirit, the DNR will continue expanding, developing and maintaining the state’s vast trails system for the benefit of all Michigan residents.

The DNR manages one of the largest interconnected trail systems in the country, and many of those trails are accessible to people of all abilities; accessible kayak launches and track chairs also are available. There are many accessible recreation resources at community parks, too; check with local recreation authorities to see what’s available.

The challenge is a good way to socially distance during this time, but make sure to bring a mask and hand sanitizer with you and keep 6 feet apart from other people on the trails. Check the DNR’s COVID-19 response page for FAQs and updates.

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