Michigan's vast network of trails traverse 12,500 miles of state-designated trails, 2,700 miles of rail trails, and a growing number of "transmission trails" that offer hikers, bikers, nature enthusiasts and others the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy nature. In recent years, ITC Holdings Corp. has partnered with urban communities where open space is at a premium – including Canton, Novi and West Bloomfield – to develop recreational trails in its transmission corridors.
"ITC takes pride in being a good neighbor in our local communities. We work with communities to keep these transmission corridor trails clear of excessive vegetation that can overtake the trails and interfere with transmission lines, ensuring area residents are able to enjoy the natural beauty of the trails and continue receiving safe and reliable power," said Simon Whitelocke, president of ITC Michigan.
Canton Trail System
The development of Canton's trail system began more than 10 years ago as a result of community input identifying open space and trails as one of Canton's most desired amenities. The most recent phase of trail development was constructed on an ITC transmission corridor. This section of trail is approximately three miles long and runs through the ITC power line corridor and connects the Lower Rouge Trail to both Flodin Park and Griffin Park.
ITC Corridor Trail in Novi
The ITC Corridor Trail in Novi will provide a non-motorized recreation link in the Novi trail system traversing the entire city of Novi from north to south. Ultimately, this trail will link regional facilities – such as Maybury State Park, the I-275 Corridor and Hines Park – in the neighboring communities of Northville, Livonia and Westland with parks in Novi. Once the ITC Corridor Trail is complete, park enthusiasts will be able to hike and bicycle between different parks and communities instead of risking sharing traffic lanes with larger motor vehicles. This project will allow people to get between parks and to local communities safely while improving their personal health and cutting back on motorized vehicle emissions.
"The ITC Corridor Trail is one of Novi's jewels, providing a quiet respite from city life and connecting not only neighboring communities but people," said Novi Mayor Bob Gatt. "We continue to push forward with completing the trail as it is an important connector in the overall plan for linking recreation throughout Michigan."
West Bloomfield Charter Township
West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission is working closely with ITC to successfully transition the transmission corridor along the township-owned West Bloomfield Trail from incompatible, tall-growing tree species to a tall grass prairie. Prairie grass was chosen as the vegetation, because the old railroad corridor was once a maintained prairie, and this type of habitat is compatible with electric power lines beside the rail trails. Electric transmission line and railroad corridors often coexist, and when the trains stop running these corridors become ideal spaces for trails and sustainable greenways. In Michigan there are more than 2,700 miles of rail trails, including the Clinton River Trail, which connects to the West Bloomfield Trail to the west, and the Macomb Orchard Trail to the east.