Take a hike for Polly Ann
May 16, 2007
DRYDEN TWP. — Feel like taking a walk?
The Friends of the Polly Ann Trail and Lapeer County Parks are co-sponsoring a Sat., June 2 trail walk in support of the establishment of a new trail head at General Squier Park.
The First Annual Polly Ann Trail Walk begins at 10 a.m. at the park, with walkers traversing a two-mile course (four miles round trip) to the Village of Dryden.
A shuttle service will be available for anyone unable or not wishing to make the return walk to General Squier Park. There is a $15 per-person registration fee ($10 for families of four or more) to participate in the walk. Walkers will receive T-shirts commemorating the event, light snacks at the start, a free pass for the water slide, 2007 membership to Friends of the Polly Ann Trail, and discount coupons for local businesses.
Friends of the Polly Ann Trail Chairman David Howell says funds raised during the walk will be applied to a grant for the purchase of a 7-acre parcel that would connect the trail with General Squier Park.
"The Friends has supported the county parks department on this project, in part by paying for the land survey and appraisal," says Howell. "We think we'll have to raise as much as $20,000 to meet the match for this grant. This is in its first stages."
Lapeer County Parks Director Ken Elwert hopes the June 2 event will be the springboard to future walks at other locations along the trail.
"We plan to look at other locations, possibly next in Imlay City," says Elwert. "We want to encourage greater use of the trail—to get people to recognize that the trail is a valuable and exciting local resource."
Elwert believes the collaboration with trail proponents is a natural fit.
"I think this is a good partnership," says Elwert. "If we can help them out and promote our parks and trails, it's a good thing for everyone."
While the trail seems to be enjoying increased support in recent years, Howell realizes there are still pockets of resistance to the trail's further development.
Early in the project, residents and officials in Attica, Imlay and Arcadia townships expressed opposition to the trail. They cited issues of public safety, excessive noise, vandalism and tresspassing as concerns.
Howell believes opposition has softened somewhat since then. Although, he says, use of the trail has been primarily limited to the stretch between Bordman and Sutton roads.
"We're hoping that with the passage of time and gradual usage, opponents will eventually support development of the trail," he said. "We've tried to be careful not to push them."
The Friends of the Polly Ann Trail was formed in 1997 for the purpose of purchasing a 20-mile right-of-way for a public trail. The Natural Resources Commission approved the purchase for $449,000 in 1999. Since obtaining the property, Friends has built seven bridges and maintained the portion of trail within Dryden Township.
The organization has an 11-member board and a group of about 25-30 active volunteers, says Howell. He adds that the long term goal is for the trail to be developed from the Oakland County line, north to Kings Mill.
"The ultimate goal is to make the trail a positive addition to the recreational opportunities in Lapeer County," says Howell.
To register for the June 2 Polly Ann Trail Walk, call Lapeer County Parks at 810-667-0304 or visit www.lapeercountyparks.org.