Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail receives $1.62 million

Photo by Kerry Kelly

From staff reports

The Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Committee, Michigan Department of Transportation, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation (TART) Trails, and Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes are proud to announce that the Federal Department of Transportation 2012 Public Lands Highway Discretionary (PLHD) program has awarded $1.62 million for the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (SBHT). The PLHD funds will be used to construct 3.17 miles of the trail starting at Port Oneida Road and ending at Leelanau County Road 669/Bohemian Road.

The SBHT will be a hard-surfaced, multi-use trail paralleling state highways M-22 and M-109 for 27 miles through the National Lakeshore. It will provide a safe, non-motorized, multi-use transportation alternative connecting the National Lakeshore’s main visitor destinations with the neighboring communities of Glen Arbor and Empire.

“The trail partners and supporters are very thankful for this grant award to continue towards expanding the trail,” said Patty O’Donnell of the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, project manager for the SBHT. “The award recognizes that the SBHT will provide a meaningful transportation alternative for residents and visitors, as well as an outstanding recreational opportunity for all users, that is being demonstrated on the first completed section from the National Lakeshore’s Dune Climb to Glen Arbor.”

National Lakeshore Superintendent Dusty Shultz noted that the grant award will help to extend the already-popular trail to more areas of the park as planned. “So many visitors have complimented us on the SBHT between the Dune Climb and Glen Arbor,” said Shultz. “A concern we do hear often is that the trail is too short; however, thanks to this grant, visitors will be provided the added opportunity for a longer visit on the trail, to new and interesting areas of the park.”

The PLHD program provides funding for transportation planning, research, and engineering and construction of highways, roads, parkways, and transit facilities that are within, adjacent to, or provide access to federal public lands which includes national parks, refuges, forests, recreation areas, and grasslands.

The SBHT is a project of the Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Committee. Trail development is a partnership between the Heritage Route Committee, the Michigan Department of Transportation, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, and TART Trails. Funding for trail development comes from federal and state grants, foundations, and individual donations.

For more information on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, please contact Patty O’Donnell at (231) 929-5039 or National Lakeshore Deputy Superintendent Tom Ulrich at (231) 326-5134. For information on how to support the SBHT, contact TART Trails at (231) 941-4300, or visit