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Posted: 08/13/14


BLAZE A TRAIL. Above, District 7 County Commissioner Don Brown cuts the ribbon for the Romeo Trailside Park in 2012, which connects to the Macomb Orchard Trail at Clinton Street in Romeo. The trail was recognized last month by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

(Observer file photo)

Macomb Orchard Trail gains national recognition

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      The Macomb Orchard Trail has been named the July 2014 Trail of the Month by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
       The non-profit organization, based in Washington, D.C., has the goal of creating a network of trails around the nation from former rail lines. Part of that mission includes shining the spotlight on a different trail each month, and toward the beginning of July, the local 23.5 mile non-motorized trail was selected.
       The trail, established in 2011, snakes its way from Dequindre Road in Shelby Township to Division Road in downtown Richmond. The trail was formerly the Canadian National Railroad.
       Laura Stark, who wrote why the trail was chosen for the conservancy's website, said the trail's unique rural features nod to the county's agricultural heritage, helping lead to its "unmitigated success."
       "About 30 miles north of Detroit, Mich., the rail-trail is pure rural Americana, a paved ribbon winding through rolling farm fields, vivid green tree canopies and friendly Midwestern towns," she wrote.
       County Executive Mark Hackel said the trail provides a "quality of life" aspect to the area. He said the trail will eventually help create a 70-mile loop around the county that connects with the trail on Metropolitan Parkway.
       "I think this will create interest for somebody as a destination to go to, to see it for themselves first-hand," he said.
       Hackel said the trail may even become an asset for homeowners, saying it could be a desired feature for people looking to move into the county.
       "You find people that are really into biking and hiking and running, and they tend to look throughout the region for a place to go," he said.
       The trail has been on the minds of residents following the homicide case of April Millsap, 14, of Armada, whose body was found just off of the trail on July 24 in the Village of Armada. Police are still seeking information on leads that could help solve the case.
       County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said outside of the recent homicide, there have been few trail-related incidents or crimes.
       "I think this (Millsap's case) was an isolated incident," he said. "Once the Armada and Michigan State Police determine what transpired we'll have a better understanding of what occurred."
       In the meantime, he said his department's reserve bike unit has beefed up its patrols on the trail ever since the Millsap tragedy.
      


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