2022 Construction underway. 14 miles to be added to Dragon Trail
White Cloud, MI: Construction at Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam is ramping up for the 2022 season, adding a projected 14 miles to the previously constructed 22 miles, completed since ground broke on the project in late 2019. If the weather permits, builders plan to complete the first 10 miles and three bridges in 2022.
Once complete, the Dragon Trail will be made up of 11 segments forming a complete 40+ mile loop around Hardy Pond, traversing through both Mecosta and Newaygo counties. Of the 22 miles already open to the public, 12+ miles are in Newaygo County, starting at Hardy Dam and ending in Big Bend Township Park. 8+ more miles of trail are already open in Mecosta County, starting at Brower Park loop on segment four and ending with the newest construction, Segment 7. Trail builders with Spectrum Trail Design LLC and Dragon Trail project officials kicked off the 2022 trail construction season on Friday, April 15th.
Construction plans for this year include an estimated 7.6-mile stretch from Newaygo State Park, continuing north, completing segments 3, 4, and connecting to Brower Park. Newaygo County procured a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund grant to fund a portion of this work. The new trail segments will feature bridges, raised wooden tread, and cross-country-style trail tread. Mecosta County Parks have recently added a new parking area within Brower Park. This area is specifically developed for Dragon Trail users and will allow for easy access to the new portions of the trail that will be built this season. Newaygo State Park will also feature an official trailhead. “It will truly be a large accomplishment to complete the final miles of trail construction in Mecosta County this year,” said Jeff Abel, Mecosta County Parks Superintendent.
Once the Newaygo State Park and Brower Park connection is complete, construction crews will move across the pond where the construction left off during the 2021 season, beginning in Segment 7 and working south to complete the remaining portions of the trail in Mecosta County and continuing into Newaygo County. The 2022 construction will continue and eventually connect with the Segment 8 trailhead at Big Bend Township Park. The construction of Segment 7 will continue in 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2023. Segment 7, the largest segment of the trail system, will stretch 11+ miles once completed.
The Dragon Trail already sees many visitors, including mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, and more, and Dragon fans can’t wait to get a taste of new segments as construction progresses. With a very eager group of trail users, project officials ask that visitors plan to use the existing segments until the new areas of the trail are officially open. “Please don’t go looking for the new trail or riding/walking up near the trail builders. Work crews must stop working when you show up. We will let you know when there is something new to ride/hike. Please be patient; trail building is a long and arduous process,” said Martin Hall, Volunteer Coordinator with the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance.
Trail visitors will also notice several trailhead kiosks at the new trailhead locations. These new kiosks were built and generously donated to the Dragon Trail Project by DML Construction, a local construction company out of Fremont, Michigan. “It is truly wonderful for DML Construction to donate to this project, showing their commitment to our local community. It is wonderful to see this kind of community support for the Dragon Trail,” said Nick Smith, Newaygo County Parks and Recreation Director.
Follow the official Michigan’s Dragon at Hard Dam Facebook Page for updates on construction progresses and new trail sections as they open, or visit www.thedragon.us.
ABOUT MICHIGAN’S DRAGON AT HARDY DAM
Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam is a 40+ mile non-motorized, multi-use trail system located between Hardy and Rogers Dams in West Michigan. The Dragon is managed by Newaygo County Parks, Mecosta County Parks Commission, and the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance. Construction for the trail began in 2019. Learn more at www.thedragon.us.