Connecting Communities: The Great Lakes Way

The Great Lakes Way
3 min read

The Great Lakes Way is an interconnected network of over 160 miles of land trails (greenways) and 156 miles of water trails (waterways) in Michigan. Established by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Great Lakes Way stretches between Lake Huron and western Lake Erie. It will positively impact the community by providing recreational activities and health benefits; providing access to cultural and historical sites and natural areas; creating tourism; establishing equity; and is free to utilize year-round.The Great Lakes Way Map

Users of the Great Lakes Way will have access to numerous recreational activities both onshore and in the water. These activities include hiking, biking, walking, swimming, fishing, kayaking, birding, and more. Studies have shown that people who spend time outside exercising experience reduced stress, lower blood pressure, and an overall increase in well-being. Access to recreational activities along the Great Lakes Way will have a positive impact both on the physical and mental health of the users.

In addition to the recreation activities along the Great Lakes Way, users will have access to sites that have both a historical and cultural significance, as well. The trail connects users to sites such as the River Raisin Battlefield Park, Underground Railroad landmarks, and the Ford Rouge Factory. The Great Lakes Way will provide improved pedestrian access to these sites and increase knowledge of our history. Michigan’s history and culture will be preserved for years to come, thanks to the Great Lakes Way.

The Great Lakes Way is free to users year-round and is accessible to multiple communities located along the trail. Due to its scale, the trail will be available to individuals of all backgrounds, promoting social, gender, racial, and economic equity. The Great Lakes Way will provide healthy alternatives for everyone.

Not only will the trail attract users who are residents and community members, it will also attract tourists. Local businesses and restaurants will benefit from the trail traffic, with users venturing into the towns located along the trail. As a result, the Great Lakes Way will encourage long-term public and private sector investments along the trail, sparking economic development.

The Great Lakes Way MapThe Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan’s mission of supporting projects that improve the lives of Southeast Michiganders is evident in the Great Lakes Way. They have ensured the Great Lakes Way reaches every community and provides recreational opportunities to every walk of life. The Great Lakes Way is a beneficial investment in establishing healthy living and an improved quality of life for many years to come.

Our team is proud to contribute to this transformational project. Learn more about PEA Group’s involvement in the Great Lakes Way below.

The Great Lakes Way

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For More Information

Jeff Smith, PLA
Vice President | Director of Landscape Architecture