Michigan Water Trails
Michigan Water Trails Website
The Michigan Water Trails website originated with a visionary group of volunteers from all over the state, who shared the goal of promoting coastal public access by linking regional water trails to form a statewide water trail system along every mile of Great Lakes shoreline. Some regional trails exist and some are still being mapped, so the site continues to grow. Support for the development of this website was provided by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Coastal Zone Management Program, with content provided by communities and volunteers all over the state.
The trail and asset data are managed using LIAA's Asset Mapping extension for our Community Center content management system. Features of the system include editing by a large group of contributors, extensive mapping of trail and location information using Google Maps and Google Maps Engine, an itinerary builder that allows end users to plan and share a customized trip, and informational videos for paddlers created by LIAA's UpNorth Media Center.
The Michigan Water Trails website was originally brought online in 2012. LIAA substantially improved the website features and additional data were provided by project partners in 2014.
Michigan Water Trails Manual
As of 2017, Michigan boasts an estimated 2,850 miles of coastal water trails — covering nearly every mile of coastline on both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas — as well as an estimated 1,280 miles of inland water trails. Water trails are located in some of Michigan’s most remote and natural environments as well as in some of the state’s most industrial and urban environments, weaving together Michigan’s beautiful water resources and its communities.
The rise of interest in water trails can be attributed to many factors, including the relatively low cost of paddling equipment, the popularity of paddling for people of all ages and abilities, and the ability to easily access Michigan’s vast freshwater resources. In addition, water trails provide a great opportunity for communities to establish and strengthen their identity, attract tourists, promote healthy lifestyles, and grow their local and regional economy.
Published by LIAA, the Michigan Water Trails Manual is a comprehensive how-to guide for Michigan communities interested in developing and promoting their own water trails.
Here’s to many more trails to explore and enjoy in the Water Trail State!
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