Regional efforts throughout St. Clair County to complete the remaining gaps in the Bridge to Bay Trail system received a significant $200,000 boost from the Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (Blue Water Area CVB).
“I can’t overstate how significant this financial investment is,” said Sheri Faust, who serves as Chair of the Regional Trails Planning Committee. “Since we began this process back in 2017 our capacity and management needs have been primarily funded by our Community Foundation along with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.”
The contribution from the Blue Water Area CVB kicks off a multi-year financial commitment to support the lengthy and complicated planning, organizing, coordinating and early-stage feasibility planning required to complete the remaining gaps in the 54-mile long trail which will eventually stretch from Algonac up to Lakeport.
The Bridge to Bay Trail system concept was created and began back in the early 1990s. However, significant sections of the trail have yet to be completed. “The gaps that remain are among the most challenging to complete,” added Faust.
In 2017 a coalition of stakeholders including St. Clair County Parks, Community Foundation of St. Clair County, St. Clair County Planning Commission, City of Port Huron, Friends of the St. Clair River, City of Marysville and City of St. Clair, launched an ambitious effort to identify, design, fund and construct the remaining gaps. In July of 2020, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation provided over $1.9 million in grant funding to support phase one of the regional efforts.
“Doing this work will take several years and is incredibly complicated,” said Randy Fernandez, City Manager in Marysville, where the City is tackling two critical gaps. “So as a partner and stakeholder, I really appreciate the significance of this new multi-year commitment from the CVB,” he said.
Marci Fogal is the President of the Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The Bridge to Bay Trail system will have a significant impact on tourism to this region and is projected to cost more than $10 million to complete,” she said. “Our Board recognized the fact that this work over the next several years will take administration, coordination, logistics and early-stage feasibility and engineering. So we wanted to join the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation and our own Community Foundation in funding that work.”