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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Little Traverse Wheelway closer to completion

If you've read the accounts of my multiday rides in the United States and Canada, you know that Michigan is one of my favoring cycling destinations.

There's a variety of reasons for that, ranging from the amazing scenery along Lake Michigan to my desire to beat the heat that's usually present in the St. Louis area this time of year.

That's why I read with interest an account from the Harbor Light Newspaper about that fact a key link of the Little Traverse Wheelway between Magnus Park and East Bay Park in Petoskey is nearing completion. (The photo also is from the Harbor Light Newspaper.) If this excerpt from the story doesn't entice you to want to ride the trail, I don't know what will:
About three-quarters of a mile to the west of Petoskey’s Magnus Park, looking over Little Traverse Bay from a distance of roughly 50 feet, the view is nothing short of spectacular.

The water is crystal clear, and most of the shoreline running from Goodhart to Bay Harbor is visible. In the distance, the Petoskey light house looks like a tiny speck, jutting out into the lake.

Typically a Northern Michigan view like this can only be read about in a real estate listing for a million dollar cottage on the lake. However, come September, this view will be available for anyone. ...
When the 26-mile trail is completed, it will connect the lakeshore communities of Charlevoix and Harbor Springs. The trail is completed between Charlevoix and East Bay Park as well as from Magnus Park to the intersection of Beach Road and M-119 north of Petoskey. The West Shoreline Tour uses nearly all of the trail during its annual jaunt up the Lake Michigan shoreline.

A stretch of trail along M-119 to the Harbor Springs Airport is slated to completed in 2009. My hunch, though, is that the West Shoreline Tour will continue to use Beach Road, a beautiful road lined with trees and some of those gorgeous $1 million-plus summer homes near Harbor Springs.

The completion of the trail will be a wonderful thing for northern Michigan cyclists because it gives them a safe alternative to riding on busy U.S. 31 and M-119, which are thick with traffic during tourist season.

My one hope for the trail, based upon my travels on it in, is that signage on the trail is improved in Petoskey. I found it difficult to navigate the trail in the community, especially in the Waterfront Park section.

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