ALPENA BI-PATH EXTENSION
Hi! My name is Larry Clark, President of South Bay- a community immediately south of the city of Alpena, Michigan- located in Alpena Township along US 23 and Lake Huron! We are an all-volunteer, non-profit 501c3 organization whose mission is to improve the appearance, economic vitality, and recreational amenities along the major gateway into Northeast Michigan. This will benefit the entire area with increased business activity and wellness opportunities derived from parks and recreation. We are working on the area from the Alpena city limits to beautiful Squaw Bay on Lake Huron, but this effort focuses on all Northeast Michigan!
Our organization began in 2011 when a group of local citizens started picking up trash during their walks on US 23. We joined forces with a group of local business people who were meeting to discuss the future of the area. Together we developed a vision of cleaning up, eliminating blight, improving economic vitality, and adding non-motorized trails and parks for the benefit of all Northeast Michigan.
Since that time over 200 volunteers have completed major highway cleanups each spring, painted houses and businesses, trimmed weeds, placed flower pots along the highway, and improved access to a natural area on Squaw Bay. The result has been an improved appearance, reduced blight, increased community involvement, and several new businesses locating here!
Additionally, two classes of students from Michigan State University and a Landscape Architect, Beckett & Raeder, worked on site to provided studies regarding a new streetscape, economic development, and parks and non-motorized trails along this Northeast Michigan gateway. These studies were funded by a generous community donating over $37,000 during a major fundraiser!!
Extensive planning and design work by Beckett and Raeder and Michigan State University, supplemented by numerous meetings with area stakeholders and four Public Input Sessions, recommended the addition of recreational amenities at Squaw Bay-a beautiful pristine bay on Lake Huron in Northeast Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. These recreational amenities will eventually consist of two parks on Squaw Bay with kayak launches and non-motorized trail access to the area and beyond!
Currently we are ready to begin implementation of the plans starting with extending the current Alpena Bi-Path. The Alpena Bi-Path measures 18.5 miles as it winds through the city from the northwest to the southeast, creating various loops until it continues along US 23 South in Alpena Township to its terminus at Island Drive. It is actively used by tourists and residents alike and the extension, with access to Squaw Bay on Lake Huron, will increase its usage by providing access to Squaw Bay on Lake Huron!
The 1.15 mile Alpena Bi-Path Extension will enable walkers and bikers to continue south to either North or South Partridge Point Road where they can do the loop around the Partridge Point Peninsula. Or they can go to the improved Partridge Point Park where they can access the beach on Squaw Bay of Lake Huron via the easternmost entrance to the area, which locals call “Frog Lane”. The DNR Forestry Division took out permits recently to install two new culverts in the driveway leading to the easternmost parking area on their land at the southeast tip of Partridge Point. Through a joint volunteer effort involving the DNR and local businesses and residents, access has been improved for this beautiful natural area for walkers, bicyclists, and vehicles.
Phase II of construction, later, will consist of extending the Alpena Bi-Path further south to a new park and welcome center at the 45th Parallel. Thereafter the Bi-Path will be extended further around Squaw Bay extending to Sanborn Township to the south. Ultimately a continuous trail is planned south to Oscoda which will close the remaining open section between Standish and Mackinac City!
This addition of bike paths coupled with the new parks and other improvements on the US 23 South Corridor will benefit all Northeast Michigan by the addition of recreational amenities, providing new jobs in the area through new business startups, and providing more incentives for residents and tourists to get outside and take advantage of a beautiful natural area right here in our back yard!
Phase II of construction will consist of extending the Alpena Bi-Path further south to the new park at the 45th Parallel, and further south around Squaw Bay extending to Sanborn Township. Ultimately a continuous trail is planned south to Oscoda which will close the remaining open section in Northeast Michigan between Standish and Mackinac City!
Pre-engineering, design, and survey costs required for this project total $60,000 as quoted by RS Scott Associates. This is a necessary step prior to the submission of State of Michigan grant applications beginning April 1, 2018. The work will recommend a route with the appropriate drainage, culverts, bridges, photo opportunities, pre-engineering, surveys, design, easements, bench location, split rail fencing, rain gardens, and so on.
We at South Bay are requesting your support for this beautiful recreational amenity for all of us in Northeast Michigan! This non-motorized trail will benefit tourists and residents; with its potential for health and wellness, school trips, nature tours, picnicking, fossil hunting, bird watching, and many others! Also, please consider getting involved and volunteering!
This addition of non-motorized trails coupled with the new parks and other improvements on the US 23 South Corridor will benefit all Northeast Michigan by the addition of recreational amenities, providing new jobs in the area, and providing more incentives for residents and tourists to get outside and take advantage of a beautiful natural area right here in our back yard!