Bayside Park Named Start of 46 Mile Trail Connecting Traverse City to Charlevoix

“It went from just a vision and a dream to a reality today.”

It was a celebration of a dream more than 10 years in the making.

Saturday was the start of a big project in Acme Township.

Dozens of people came out on this rainy day, with bright smiles for the future.

Bayside Park is the first trailhead for what will be a 46-mile route connecting Traverse City and Charlevoix.

“There’s no such thing as crazy in Acme Township, there’s only can-do.

What used to be a block of motels is now Bayside Park.

It all started in 2006 with a cup of coffee and a vision.

“We sat down for coffee one day and just said why don’t we try to buy this shoreline because all of the properties, almost all of the properties were for sale,” says Pat Salathiel, who lives in Acme Township.

The goal was to give the public more access to Grand Traverse Bay.

“Our open spaces and our shorelines are disappearing and more and more people are moving in the region and less and less shoreline, so I think it’s a critical time of doing what we can to conserve these spaces for people,” Salathiel said.

The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy played a big role in expanding the park by helping to raise more than $2 million.

“And the community was rewarded with that generosity because the state of Michigan matched those dollars with about $6.5 million in grants from the Michigan Natural Resources trust fund,” Glen Chown, executive director for the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy said.

Now Bayside Park is more than four times its original size and the start of a 46-mile trail connecting Traverse City to Charlevoix.

“So we just got done with the preliminary design between Acme and Elk Rapids and there’s another phase that will actually we hope to be under construction starting late next year and that is the connection between TART at Bunker Hill to this park,” said executive director for TART Trails, Julie Clark.

It will take years to finish but when it’s complete, the community will have more than 300 miles of connected trails to enjoy.

“It just demonstrates again how much people care about their communities here in Northern Michigan, and how much they want to connect with each other,” Clark said.