By Howard Meyerson
A two-day summit about the Lake Michigan Water Trail, a 1600 mile paddling route around the lake, will be held in Saugatuck Nov. 8 and 9. at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. The event is open to the public and organizers say they hope to draw paddlers, cyclists hikers, convention and visitors bureaus and urban planners.
The event will focus on the development of a “multi-modal” route around the lake that includes US Bicycle Route 35, paddling and hiking routes as well as motor routes in Michigan, Illinois Indiana and Wisconsin..
“Some of this will be for developing the policy side, but the other major focus is how to market a Lake Michigan leisure corridor to the world, the region and to the people around the lake,” said Dave Lemberg, the conference coordinator and an associate professor at Western Michigan University’s Department of Geography.
Lemberg is the Michigan coordinator for the Lake Michigan water trail, a four state paddle route established by the Obama administration in 2009 as a National Recreation Trail. Lemberg recently finished up an inventory of Michigan shoreline access sites. Indiana and Wisconsin have completed theirs.
“I identified 300 public access sites,” Lemberg said. “And we are in surprisingly good shape.”
The access sites are places where people can launch or take-out, places to stop rest and resupply. The longest gap is a 25-mile segment on the Garden Peninsula in Michigan’s U.P., according to Lemberg.
“Even that’s not too bad,” he said. “It’s all national forest land and it’s not like you can’t stop and rest or camp.”
The longest Lower Peninsula gap is 15-miles in Emmet County between Harbor Springs and Redmond Township beach, but there are public properties for resting in between.
Lemberg hopes the summit will generate the a dialogue between planners and users and tourism promoters. Registration is free. For details see: Lake Michigan Water Trail Summit
Copyright © 2012 Howard Meyerson