A “grand vision” of a loop trail


VASA Pathway – Source: runnersworld.com

Several terms have become synonymous with continuous urban loop trails. These include Rim Trails, Metro Edge Ways, and Knapsack Pathways. All three of these terms were highlighted by trail-scholar Bob Searns, AICP at the 2016 Michigan Statewide Trail Summit, as he presented his plan for a 150-mile long facility encircling metropolitan Denver.


Sources: aticonsult.com and TART Trails

As the above map identifies, here in Greater Traverse City we have a continuous already have 46-mile long loop trail that is well on its way to completion – it passes through eight communities and consists of all of or parts of the Boardman River Trail (24 miles), the North Country National Scenic Trail and Connector, the VASA Pathway, the TART Trail (7 miles), and the Boardman Lake Trail (2 miles). Only the TART Trail and Boardman Lake Trail segments are hard surface, otherwise it is soft-surface hiking

I would like to suggest naming this trail the “Grand Vision Loop Trail. The name would be based on the award-winning regional planning document called The Grand Vision and the amazing views/vistas one would experience along the trail. I debated suggesting the name “The Grand Traverse,” for this trail, but felt it might become confused with so many other things (county, mall, mixed-use commons, the bay, land conservancy, etc, etc.) that already use that name in their title, particularly to outsiders.

While providing terrific connectivity regionally and nationally via the North Country Trail, the Grand Vision Loop Trail would allow users to enjoy knapsack day hikes as well as lengthier treks across the amazingly varied and gorgeous terrain of Northwest Michigan. Another great aspect of the Grand Vision Loop Trail is how accessible it is via the local transit system – BATA (pronounced bay-ta) currently provides easy connections at multiple locations along the trail.

As a relative newcomer to Northwest Michigan, I will to express my hearty thanks to all of those who had the foresight to create the growing network of trails we have here and who have worked tirelessly to bring this grand vision to reality for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts in our region. Namaste!


This entry was posted in Active transportation, cities, entertainment, Environment, fitness, fun, geography, health, hiking, infrastructure, land use, Maps, nature, placemaking, planning, spatial design, sustainability, third places, topography, tourism, trails, transportation, Travel, Uncategorized, urban planning, walking and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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