Land Acquired for New Sylvan Lake Trail (MI)

Sylvan Lake, MI12/12/02- The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, announced today the sale of 1.05 miles of abandoned railway to the City of Sylvan Lake. The former rail corridor will be developed as a pedestrian and bike path and is a key link in the regional Southeast Michigan Millennium Trail System.

The acquisition of the 1.05 -mile section of the former Grand Trunk Western Railroad parcel preserves one of the critical links between the communities of Rochester and West Bloomfield in Oakland County, and will add momentum to this citizen-led, community-supported initiative. The Trust for Public Land acquired the property from Grand Trunk Western Railroad this past year to protect the corridor while public funding was arranged. Through grants from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the city was able to purchase the land and will begin developing it into a hiking and biking trail.

John Martin, City Manager for Sylvan Lake sees this project as bigger than just a mile of trail. “The Southeast Michigan Millennium Trail system is going to strengthen connections between communities throughout the region,” he said. “Already, the public has embraced these trails and people use them throughout the year. Sylvan Lake is proud to be a part of the system.”

Regional efforts are underway to convert miles of former railroad property into a network of greenways and trails that will connect the seven-county area. The Southeast Michigan Millennium Greenway Trail will provide bicyclists, skaters and hikers a tour of picturesque small towns, suburban open land and an urban mix of industrial plants, skyscrapers and riverfront views as they travel from the outer reaches of the corridor into the urban center of Detroit.

Trust for Public Land Vice President and Midwest Regional Director Cynthia Whiteford sees the regional effort as important for Michigan. “This is another step in developing a regional treasure, the Southeast Michigan Millennium Greenway Trail. By connecting communities to surrounding areas, this trail becomes bigger than the sum of its parts. It will help shape the regional character and provide a nexus for future conservation and recreation opportunities. TPL is proud to have been able to play a role in this effort.”

Detroit and its surrounding counties are making a concerted effort to develop a greenway system that uses state recreation areas and Metroparks as hubs, connecting downtown Detroit riverfront with outlying communities of southeast Michigan.

Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment. The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 1.4 million acres of land across the nation. In Michigan, TPL has protected over 55,718 acres of land, is an active partner in the Lower Detroit River Ecosystem and has assisted various communities and national forests throughout the state in their conservation efforts. As part of the Southeast Michigan Millennium Trail, TPL has played a role in securing over 30 miles of railway throughout the seven county region.