Linking People: Communities Eye Bicycling Trail Connector
One of the most enjoyable spring days imaginable here in Northern Michigan has to include a family bike trip to some place new. Now, residents of Elk Rapids, Traverse City and all spots in between have hopes of a bike path connection linking some special communities.
Your new home in Northern Michigan might not be too far from the much-anticipated trail extension that will link up two extensive networks already in place. Both the Charlevoix Little Traverse Wheelway and Traverse Area Recreational Trail have brought safe, fun and inclusive bike riding options to their respective communities. Many volunteers and local government leaders have worked to put plans in place to connect these two trails, which will, of course, add some exciting options for the communities they'll pass through.
To get a sense of the impact on property values and for the local economy, you don't have to look far. TART's recent study saw that the trail system added $5.5 million to the local economy, a good indicator on what trail access could do for villages like Elk Rapids, Eastport, and Norwood. The quiet, non-motorized transportation for work or pleasure adds to the walkable, bikeable community that's appealing to new home buyers young and old.
It's certainly a process to make this dream a reality, but the plan is gaining momentum. MDOT's look at cycling tourism impacted the state really changed how some communities saw cyclists. A sweeping 2014 study showed that the industry generated $22 million in Michigan through races, rides, charity events and other causes, much of it focused on population centers like Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City.
There is so much going on in Northern Michigan, and communities like Elk Rapids, Williamsburg and more are really the focus of some positive changes. We anticipate the bike path to be a good contributor to property values and to have a strong impact on the local economies, making these small towns feel even more like home.