When to mingle with trail-makers and influence your town’s future

Attend monthly meetings and events of the Jackson Walkable Communities Coalition.

Photo courtesy of Jackson Walkable Communities Coalition.
Photo courtesy of Jackson Walkable Communities Coalition.

Two ambitious recreational pathways: Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail and the Great Lake-to-Lake Trails traverse metropolitan Jackson. One local group, the Jackson Walkable Communities Coalition (WCC), offers organizations and community members the opportunity to interact with decision makers during monthly meetings. Attendees gain information about pathway development and can help shape future projects. Part one highlights the activities of the WCC in Jackson. Part two describe some of the ways people and communities benefit from participating with local planning efforts.

Community and economic developers, health and wellness enthusiasts and nature buffs will find themselves among people with common interests at meetings of the WCC. The group has been gathering monthly since 2005. Since then Jackson has made strides in multiple endeavors:

  • New city and regional trails
  • Safe routes to schools
  • Sidewalk audits to assess conditions
  • Bike rallies that promote bicycling
  • Bike share program championed by Jackson County has experienced over 600 users in less than a year

The WCC’s work continues as they aim to increase snow-shoveling behavior to ensure residents are able to use sidewalks in the winter months. The committee is also planning to participate in an effort to develop a regional multiuse trail plan.


Route of the Jackson segment of the Lake to Lake Trail and Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail. Map courtesy of the Michigan Trails Greenways Coalition.

In September 2017, they offered a tour of some of the new trail segments between the MLK Equality Trail (named the Inter City Trail in the figure below) and the Falling Waters Trail. In October, they will view some of the new and proposed routes in Blackman Township. This segment lies to the north of the Grand River Artswalk segment in the City of Jackson spanning the stretch to the Lakelands Trail to the northeast. This will be the final 7.4 miles needed to complete Jackson’s connection with the Iron Belle Trail and the Lake-to-Lake Trail #1 South Haven to Port Huron.

This is a unique opportunity to see the site prior to pathway construction.

The October meeting will be a driving tour of some of the new and proposed future non-motorized facilities in Jackson County on Tues., Oct. 10 from 12- 2 p.m. To help with planning for the tour, please RSVP to Tanya DeOliveira or 517.745.9041 if you would like to attend by Wed., Oct. 4. Please plan to meet at the Blackman Township Hall by 11:45 a.m. on the day of the tour to help us leave on time.

You can learn more about the history, accomplishments and plans of the Jackson Walkable Communities Coalition by reading an article published in the July 2017 Federal Highway Administration’s Fostering Livable Communities Newsletter. Visit Michigan State University Extension Tourism website for current events, educational programs and news articles on Michigan Tourism. 

Additional articles in the series:

Why mingle with trail-makers?

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