Lakelands Trail State Park re-named in honor of Michigan resident

Contact: Doug Donnelly, 517-284-6109
Agency: Natural Resources

June 6, 2018

sign unveilingIn recognition of a Michigan trails champion, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has renamed the Lakelands Trail State Park – part of the Great Lake-to-Lake Trail that stretches from South Haven to Port Huron – as the Mike Levine Lakelands Trail State Park.

Levine, an inventor and philanthropist from southeast Michigan, in September 2016 pledged $5 million for a variety of Michigan trail projects, including design, development and construction of the Lakelands Trail and the Great Lake-to-Lake Trail. The Mike Levine Lakelands Trail State Park starts at Hall Road in Livingston County and extends to Hawkins Road in Henrietta Township in Jackson County. 

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate National Trails Day then to re-dedicate the Lakelands Trail in honor of a true trail champion,” said DNR state trails coordinator Paul Yauk. “Mike Levine’s tireless energy and passion for trails show in what he has been able to accomplish.”

More than 60 people gathered in Pinckney last week to help celebrate Levine’s contributions to Michigan’s trails. Speakers representing the DNR, the Department of Transportation and the Michigan History Center joined Bob Wilson, executive director of the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, in discussing the history of the Lakelands Trail, its funding, and Levine’s efforts to support the trail. 

“Mike has pledged his time, his passion and millions of dollars to expand and improve trails throughout the state,” Wilson said. 

During the ceremony, a new Mike Levine Lakelands Trail State Park sign was unveiled and a new award in Levine’s name was announced. The award, to be presented annually by the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, will honor an outstanding trails volunteer and be announced each September during Michigan Trails Week.

“We are fortunate to have passionate trail supporters like Mike Levine who are willing to invest in Michigan’s trails system and leave a legacy,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation chief. 

Dan Spegel, Heritage Trail coordinator with the Michigan History Center, said the Lakelands Trail, built on an old rail line, opened for public use in 1994. 

“These beautiful landscapes really are just the surface of a much larger story,” Spegel said. “It’s actually the natural and cultural heritage of a place that makes it unique. If properly interpreted, heritage can provide important context for landscapes and places like the Lakelands Trail, making for a more meaningful experience for those who enjoy and explore them.”

Part of Levine’s $5 million pledge also will support development of trail connections to Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail, the state’s showcase trail that offers bicycling and hiking routes that run from Belle in Detroit all the way to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula. That trail currently is about 68 percent completed, with more development and construction efforts under way.

Michigan offers more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails and pathways, one of the largest, interconnected trail systems in the country. Those trails and the associated quality of life, health and economic benefits they offer, are cementing Michigan’s reputation as the nation’s “Trails State.” Michigan’s trails provide ample opportunities for bicyclists, hikers, ORV riders, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, horseback riders and others.

Learn more about the state’s trail offerings on the DNR website michigan.gov/dnrtrails

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

An accompanying photo is available below for download. Caption information follows.

DNR state trails coordinator Paul Yauk (left) helps southeast Michigan resident Mike Levine unveil the new Mike Levine Lakelands Trail State Park sign that recently was installed to honor Levine's ongoing commitment to growing and improving Michigan's trail offerings.