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Little Traverse Conservancy pushes fundraising on upcoming trail projects

Wetlands near the East Jordan River could support an accessible boardwalk trail.
Little Traverse Conservancy
Wetlands near the East Jordan River could support an accessible boardwalk trail. (Photo: Little Traverse Conservancy)

Hiking and biking trails in Cheboygan and an accessible boardwalk in East Jordan could break ground this summer.

That is if fundraising stays on track, according to the Little Traverse Conservancy.

The nonprofit works to protect natural areas in Chippewa, Mackinac, Emmet, Cheboygan, and Charlevoix counties by opening nature preserves and places for recreation.

Last year, during its 50th anniversary, it added 1,359 acres of permanent land conservation and six new trails.

The two upcoming projects are named after donors but are still being crowdfunded to cover costs of construction:

Don & Eileen Klein Nature Trail

Wheelchairs, strollers, and walkers will all be able to traverse this project in East Jordan.

Located along the East Jordan River, it will pass through nearby wetlands and help to connect three nearby nature preserves.

Accessibility was among the most important features in designing the project, said Anne Fleming, director of communications and community outreach for the conservancy.

"You can have two-way traffic on it. And it's plenty wide for any kind of mobility devices, including parents with their strollers and little kids,” she said.

The conservancy is looking to raise $1.8 million for the project.

Support has already been pledged from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation, the Malpass Foundation, and the Charles M. and Joan R. Taylor foundation, Inc, according to the conservancy's Winter Newsletter.

The City of East Jordan is pursuing a grant for federal funding as well.

Fleming says the project has $100,000 left to raise toward its goal.

Melvin Family Hiking and Biking Trail

A 150-acre parcel of land situated between Burt and Mullet Lakes could be turned into hiking and mountain biking trails this summer.

Executive Director Kieran Fleming previously told IPR the hilly terrain of the Cheboygan property offers great views of the water and a wild ride for Mountain Bikers

Preliminary plans for the project include two separate trails – one for hiking and one for mountain biking.

“The people that really enjoy (mountain biking) love the topography, the hills just go up and down,” Fleming said. “And then when you create trails on those...boy, it's as much of an art as a science.”

Construction could begin as early as this summer if about $200,000 more dollars are raised.

Michael Livingston covers the area around the Straits of Mackinac - including Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties as a Report for America corps member.