The Huron Valley Trail
in Oakland County is getting some much-appreciated assistance in the form of a $250,000 combined grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Trails Maintenance Fund.
The 12.2-mile paved asphalt trail runs along a portion of the former Grand Trunk Railroad, crossing through the communities of South Lyon, Lyon Township, New Hudson, and Milford Township, connecting with trails at Island Lake Recreation Area and Kensington Metropark. It's a three-legged trail that comes together at I-96 in New Hudson with endpoints at Pontiac Trail on the border of Lyons Oak County Park and Wixom, Dixboro Road north of Londonderry Drive in South Lyon, and Island Lake Pathway at Kent Lake Beach Road.
The trail was originally constructed in 2000 through a collaboration between local communities, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Oakland County Parks and Recreation, and the Huron-Clinton Metroparks.
The new grant, distributed through the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, allocates $175,000 to Milford Township and $75,000 to Lyon Township to
"We don't have sidewalks in the township; it's all gravel roads with a speed limit of 55 miles an hour. So the trails are a really good thing."
help maintain their sections of the Huron Valley Trail. Both communities will use the money for resurfacing.
In Milford Township the grants funds will cover half the cost of resurfacing a stretch of the trail that runs roughly between Old Plank Road and Pontiac Trail. Township Supervisor Don Green says the maintenance work will help prevent injuries.
"You have to resurface … so there's not an ankle breaker," he says. "Even though I set money aside every year for replacement and repair, a $175,000 boost is a pretty good chunk of change. It makes it a lot easier for us to do the repairs."
Milford Township is currently working with the city of Wixom to build a two-mile connector on the Huron Valley Trail's eastern edge that would link it to the Michigan Air Line Trail
, which runs from Wixom to West Bloomfield. The Huron Valley Trail and the Michigan Air Line Trail are both components of a large non-motorized route called the Great Lake to Lake Trail Route #1, which will eventually run from South Haven to Port Huron.
Green believes trails are a great amenity for his community, and he's excited about the prospect of being better connected with Southeast Michigan's regional non-motorized network.
"It's going to make people a lot more healthy. I'll use it. I need to do my 10,000 steps a day, just like anybody else," he says. "And we don't have sidewalks in the township; it's all gravel roads with a speed limit of 55 miles an hour. So the trails are a really good thing."
The engineering design work for the new Huron Valley Route connector has already been completed with funding from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, according to Green. Bidding for the project is expected to start in December and partners working on the project hope to kick off construction in spring of 2022.
Map of Huron Valley Trail