Since 1986, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy of
Michigan (RTC) has led the way in converting the state's
abandoned railroad corridors to trails. RTC was formed with
the goal of creating the Discover Michigan Trail, a conceptual
plan that would convert a continuous link of abandoned rail
lines and connecting corridors to trails in every region of
Michigan. To achieve this goal, the Michigan office of RTC
works to educate, advocate locally, provide technical assistance,
support state and local legislation and establish policy and
planning regarding rail-trails.
In the past 10 years, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
helped produce an inventory and vision for a connected trails
and greenways network in the seven counties of southeast Michigan.
This work led to the creation of an $18 million private fund to
leverage public grant programs. RTC has provided information and
lessons learned from this successful program to two other
emerging regional systems, one in the Saginaw Bay area and
one in west Michigan. In addition, RTC has hosted two statewide
conferences and played a major role in a Northern Trail summit.
The organization has created a full-color statewide map and
directory and provided technical assistance to at least 20
individual trail projects over the past five years. RTC also
created awareness of Michigan's trails and greenways with
presentations to various statewide and national conferences,
as well as discussions with tourism officials.
"As development intensifies and rapidly
encroaches into the rural areas of our state, it is
important to conserve linear path opportunities that help
build a green infrastructure for our citizens. This will
provide recreation, conservation, non-motorized transportation
and improved quality of life," said Nancy Krupiarz,
Rails-to-Trails State Director. "The health of our citizens
depends on designing communities to make bicycle and pedestrian
mobility an easily accessible and attractive choice."
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy publishes
three six-page newsletters a year on Michigan trail
activities, targeted towards RTC members and trail users.
This audience also receives the national Rails-to-Trails
Conservancy full-color magazine, which is published
quarterly. Trail builders, friends groups, and state and
local agency personnel receive a bi-monthly technical
report which provides an update on the latest trail-building
issues. (From the Rails-To-Trails Site)
Interested individuals can join Rails-to-Trails
by visiting the site
or filling out the membership form in any of their publications.
Membership is $18 per individual or $25 per family per year.
For additional information about the Rails-to-Trails
Conservancy of Michigan, contact Nancy Krupiarz, State Director,
at (517) 485-6022 or by e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the
RTC Michigan site.
Further statwide trail development information and status is available
on the Michigan DNR "Networking Michigan With Trailways"