Trails, greenways, bikeways, and other non-motorized transportation facilities are a critical part of a community’s mobility infrastructure. Whether helping connect residents to recreation opportunities, visitors to local economies, or residents to their schools and jobs – such facilities play heavily into the quality of life and sense of community.
In St. Clair County, a number of signature regional trails connect to and through portions of the county, including: the Macomb-Orchard Trail, the Wadhams to Avoca Trail, and over 26-miles of the Bridge to Bay Trail. These existing trails are already defining elements of the communities through which they pass and greatly valued by residents and visitors alike. The potential for a county-wide system is not yet fully-realized, as there are significant gaps between existing trail segments. Additionally, there are many destinations, important from an economic and recreational standpoint, that are not yet accessible by trails or other non-motorized facilities.
The purpose of the St. Clair County Trails Plan, completed in 2019 and led by the St. Clair County Metropolitan Planning Commission, St. Clair County Parks and the Community Foundation, was to assess the overall county and its major destinations, inventory the existing trail systems, and understand community desires. This plan clearly identifies opportunities, needs, and priorities for future trail and bikeway projects. The planning process engaged a broad range of stakeholders to develop three outcomes:
Read more about the trails project:
Smith Group Report: St. Clair County Trails Plan
Smith Group Report: St. Clair County Trails Report Appendix
Public Sector Consultants Report: Economic Impact of Trail Development- Executive Summary
Public Sector Consultants Report: Economic Impact of Trail Development – Full Report
Regional Trails Board of Directors
An unprecedented opportunity has begun that builds off a two-decade vision and launches another multi-year plan to connect and complete the region’s 54-mile Bridge To Bay Trail. This regional trail plan, stretching from New Baltimore to Port Huron, includes three phases estimated at $12M and will add another 18 miles to the Bridge To Bay Trail. Once complete, the Bridge to Bay Trail is a critical link for connecting to other trails in Southeast Michigan.
Oversight of this initiative is provided from the Regional Trails Governing Board (Board) with oversight by Friends of the St. Clair River and coordination from Local Units of Governments who own, lease or operate land that touches the Bridge to Bay Trail. Support for activities comes from five Trail Advisory Committees. Formed in fall 2019, the Board is a coalition of stakeholders and community leaders invested in the development, sustainability and oversight of the Bridge To Bay Trail and future segments, needs and opportunities.
Attention is also being given to the existing twenty-six miles of trail infrastructure. Additional funding is rehabilitating and reconstructing over two and a half miles of existing segments as some segments are twenty years old. A Trails Maintenance Grant from the Wilson Fund at the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan is being split between seven communities to continue to provide the recreation experience envisioned when their trail segments were developed.
4/11/22 – Regional trails planning gets $200,000 boost
3/29/21 – New trails and canal bridge will connect schools and families
2/25/21 – “Everyone seems to agree on this”: Southeast Michigan comes together to plan connected trails system
7/20/20 – $1.9 Million Boosts Regional Trails in St. Clair County
7/30/20 – $147,500 Grant Supports Bridge To Bay Trail Maintenance Projects
7/30/20 – Community Foundation Funds Land Conservancy Acquisition
St. Clair County Parks and Recreation Bridge To Bay Trail
Michigan Trails magazine
Michigan Trails and Greenway Alliance
SEMCOG TrailExplorer map
MDOT Biking In Michigan
National Trails Day
Friends of the St. Clair River
Bridge To Bay Wayfinding, Signage and Safety Plan – Coming soon