The Great Lakes Way is an interconnected network of over 160 miles of land trails (greenways) and 156 miles of water trails (waterways) between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The Great Lakes Way will have a great impact on the community, providing recreational activities for people of all backgrounds in Southeast Michigan. PEA Group was retained by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) to provide trail design services.
PEA Group compiled data on existing waterways and greenways to identify gaps in existing infrastructure. The project started with the development of a double sided vision map to use as a marketing tool for communities and non-profits to gain funding and support. PEA Group met with a team of stakeholders monthly to ensure the Great Lakes Way was meeting the needs and vision of the groups involved.
The next step of the project included collaborating with SEMCOG to create an interactive website using GIS data and research to depict which sections of the trail are complete, and what needs to be done in the future. The website also highlights the cultural and historical points of interest along the route, including what it would take to complete the route.
PEA Group continues to collaborate with CFSEM and meets with the stakeholder group to make this project a reality. The next step will closely review the data collected to determine the feasibility and magnitude of cost for the route gaps.
The Great Lakes Way establishes access to recreational actives such as hiking, biking, walking, cross-country skiing, swimming, fishing, kayaking, birding, and more. In additional to recreation, the trails connect users to several historic and cultural sites such as the River Raisin Battlefield Park, Underground Railroad landmarks, and the Ford Rouge Factory. Free to users year-round, the Great Lakes Way is available to individuals of all backgrounds, promoting social, gender, racial, and economic equity.