Senate approves Meekhof’s Pure Michigan Trails legislation

LANSING—Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof to encourage use of Michigan’s growing network of multi-use land and water trails was unanimously approved on Wednesday by the Senate.

“Michigan is blessed with wonderful water resources, and this package will help highlight the unique nature of water-based trails and how they add to our outdoor recreation options,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive. “By designating these trails as Pure Michigan water trails, we can help to open the door for residents and tourists to these great trail opportunities.

“In doing so, the Pure Michigan Trail initiative will help support Michigan tourism jobs and improve local economies by attracting more visitors to Michigan’s great outdoors.”

Meekhof sponsored Senate Bill 874 and co-sponsored the other four bills to update the current Michigan Trailways designation process to reflect recent recommendations from the Trailways Advisory Council. 

Senate Bills 873-877 would also allow for the designation of “Pure Michigan Trail Towns” that support multi-use trails and develop a process for the state to create and update a broad database of trail maps.

“Like many Michigan residents, I enjoy spending time on our lakes and in the outdoors. It is part of what I love about living and working in Michigan,” Meekhof said. “I am proud to be part of an effort to effectively use existing resources to promote the entire system of trails we have to offer Michigan families and out-of-state visitors.

“With more trails being added every year by both local communities and nonprofits – toward a goal of creating an integrated, statewide trail network – this legislation would keep trail maps updated and make them available for everyone to access on their smartphone or online.”

The other bills in the package were sponsored by Sens. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart; Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba; Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell; and John Moolenaar, R-Midland.

SBs 873-877 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.