Lake Michigan Water Trail added to National Trails System

By Jim Hagerty
Online Editor

An area recreational trail is now officially on a list of national outdoor public access points.

Monday, June 2, U.S.Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D) designated the new Lake Michigan Water Trail in a ceremony on Chicago’s Lake Michigan’s waterfront.

From left to right, U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes, Northwest Indiana Paddling Association's Daniel K. Plath, National Park Service Regional Director Michael Reynolds and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D) announce the designation of the Lake Michigan Water Trail. The kayak was made by Ken Stelter, and the event was organized by the Rock River Trail's National Park Service consultant Diane Banta. (Photo by Frank Schier)

The first phase of the trail is complete, beginning in Chicago and stretching 75 miles to New Buffalo, Mich. Running through three states, the trail covers Chicago’s lakefront in Illinois and the entire coast of Indiana. When finished, the Lake Michigan Water Trail will provide access enjoyed by the first Europeans and Native Americans around the entire 1,200 miles of the lake.

Part of the National Trails System, the Lake Michigan Water Trail is one of 41 new national recreation trails that span nearly 650 miles across 17 states.

The National Trail System links communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the country. Each new trail will receive a certificate of designation, congratulatory letter from U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and a set of trail markers. These trails join a network of more than 1,100 previously designated trails that provide more than 13,000 miles of recreational opportunities.

The National Recreation Trail program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. More information is available at

From the June 8-14, 2011 issue

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