Legislation would help improve and maintain trails

June 5, 2014
Rep. Ray Franz

Rep. Ray Franz

LANSING — Nonprofit organizations and private businesses can help improve and maintain Michigan’s trail network through state Rep. Ray Franz’ legislation that the Michigan House of Representatives approved today.

The Onekama lawmaker’s House Bill 5553 is part of a package of bills aimed at designating the state’s trail system “Pure Michigan Trails,” along with restructuring its oversight and certain definitions.

“The Pure Michigan promotion campaign has been tremendously popular in our state so weaving our trails, an integral part of the Michigan tourism experience, into that branding is an obvious next step,” Franz said. “And since this is about inclusion and pride, there should definitely be opportunities for residents and local entities to pitch in and make a difference that can enhance the Pure Michigan experience for everyone.”

Along with renaming the Michigan Trailways Fund the Pure Michigan Trails Fund and eliminating an unused reference to state forest land trailways fees, HB 5553 also frees the usage of money in the fund from a specified list of items so a wider range of those meeting the general purpose of trail improvement can be considered.

Lastly, the bill expands eligibility for receiving Pure Michigan Trails Fund support through grants and contracts from councils and governmental agencies to include nonprofit organizations and private sector entities.

Other bills in the package:

  • ·         Move primary trail management oversight from the Natural Resources Commission to the Department of Natural Resources director, including water trails with the consultation of the Office of the Great Lakes. The director would then refer trail proposals to the commission for public hearings and its recommendation;
  • ·         Upon request, authorize the designation of a city, village, or township that meets certain criteria as a “Pure Michigan trail town”;
  • ·         Require the DNR to develop an online database and mobile software application of Michigan trail maps and other information related to specific trails;
  • ·         Rename the Michigan Snowmobile and Trailways Advisory Council the Michigan Trails Advisory Council; and
  • ·         Require that at least two members of the advisory council be Upper Peninsula residents, and that the council consult with organizations involved with expanding trail access for people with disabilities.

Area Churches

Eats & Drinks

Eats & Drinks