Southeast Michigan bike and conservation groups are gearing up to celebrate National Trails Day

This article is part of Inside Our Outdoors, a series about Southeast Michigan's connected parks, greenways, and trails and how they affect residents' quality of life. It is made possible with funding from the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.

The first Saturday of June holds special significance for outdoor enthusiasts, as it happens to be National Trails Day.

The American Hiking Society, which established the first National Trails Day in 1993, describes it as "as a day of public events aimed at advocacy and trail service [where] thousands of hikers, bikers, rowers, horseback riders, trail clubs, federalPaint Creek Trail and local agencies, land trusts, and businesses come together in partnership to advocate for, maintain, and clean up public lands and trails."

Local trail enthusiasts are encouraged to participate in or host trail-related events in their own areas. In Southeast Michigan several events are being held to coincide with National Trails Day.

This Saturday, Six Rivers Land Conservancy is planning a wildflower hike at Anchor Bay Woods in New Baltimore from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Participation will be limited to the first 30 people who sign up. Besides that, the Detroit Greenways Coalition is looking for volunteers to help with a rain garden cleanup along the Livernois streetscape, which features Detroit's first sidewalk-level bike lanes. 

The Motor City Mountain Biking Association is also sponsoring its annual Milford Bike Fest and Trail Challenge on June 5. The bike fest is a day of activities designed to showcase the area's five local mountain bike trails and raise funds for trail maintenance and youth cycling. 

Those interested in other local events can check the American Hiking Society's website for other listings.

Of course, in addition to attending organized National Trail Day events, trail lovers Macomb Orchard Trailcan also visit local trails on their own. Andrea LaFontaine, director of the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, a state nonprofit dedicated to supporting non-motorized trails and those who use them, says the region is filled with unique places to explore.

"The network of trails in Southeast Michigan is dynamic, connected, and diverse," LaFontaine says.  "People often assume you have to go "up north" to experience Michigan's natural resources, and that is not the case when you look at the extensive network of land and water trails in Southeast Michigan."

Some of the top-notch trails she suggests checking out include the Dequindre Cut, Macomb Orchard Trail, Border to Border Trail, Paint Creek Trail, or any of the state parks and Huron Clinton Metroparks in the region. 

"Have fun, make memories, and share your experience with others," says LaFontaine. "And I invite people to visit our website, consider becoming a MTGA member, and don’t hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can assist with." 
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Read more articles by David Sands.