Northern bars to close as of Friday
Citing a resurgence in cases connected to social gatherings throughout the state Governor Whitmer signed orders expanding the closing of bars for indoor service and limiting gatherings indoors to 10 people in regions 6 and 8 that include the UP and most northern counties.
“COVID-19’s resurgence is closely associated with super-spreading events at large social gatherings, often attended by young people,” said the press release from the Governor’s office. ”An outbreak at a Lansing bar has resulted in 187 infections; more than 50 cases have been linked to a single house party in Saline; and a sandbar party at Torch Lake over the July 4 weekend led to at least 43 confirmed cases.
The restrictions in the two northern regions now match those in the rest of the state with one exception.
Outdoor gatherings limited to 100 people in most of the state will continue to be 250 for our northern neighbors.
MSP to Host Virtual Recruiting Webinar this Saturday
LANSING, MICH. The Michigan State Police (MSP) will host a virtual recruiting webinar on Saturday, Aug. 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for persons who are interested in learning more about a career as a Michigan State Trooper.
The webinar will provide an overview of the minimum qualifications and essential job functions of a trooper, information about taking the entry level law enforcement exam, the MSP hiring process, trooper recruit school and the field training officer program.
Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED, be at least 21 years of age by recruit school graduation and be of good moral character with no felony convictions. Additionally, applicants must be a U.S. citizen, and a Michigan resident at the time of appointment to the academy.
To register, go to
Once registered, attendees will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the webinar.
For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/MSPjobs or contact Tpr. Kellie Shaffer at Shafferk@michigan.gov or Mr. Kenneth Rochell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Popular annual event removes tons of trash
The 9th Annual Muskegon River Clean-up, sponsored by Muskegon River Clean-up Company, LLC, has been cancelled, due to COVID 19 outbreak and the Governor’s Executive Orders. This event was scheduled for August 1, 2020, starting at Bridgeton Township Launch Site and culminating at the Maple Island Launch Site. At the Maple Island site, registered participants, that had collected trash from the river, are given tickets for lunch and prizes. Prizes usually consist of approximately 10 kayaks and miscellaneous other items. This event usually draws between 300 and 500 people.
Over the past 8 years we have removed 24,583 beverage containers, 60 to 70 tires, a few tons of green treated lumber, over 600 flip flops, and countless phones, sunglasses and lighters from the river. Some of the stranger items removed were 2 sewing machines, a bowling ball, a large electric motor, a 9.8hp outboard and a metal bed. Last year alone, we removed 4326 beverage containers, 1 chair, 1 milk can, 114 flip flops, 25 pairs of goggles and glasses, 18 lighters, 1 cell phone, 12 tires, 1 garbage can, miscellaneous animal bones, scrap iron and treated wood, along with general trash. We recycle what items we can and that money is used to help fund the following year’s event. The most discouraging thing is that we have cleaned this area for 8 years now and still continue to get a dump truck full of trash each year.
We would like to thank the Bridgeton Township Board, West Michigan Wildlife Association and Muskegon Watershed Assembly for their support over the years. For those that would like to make a donation to help us with this event, we have a Muskegon River Cleanup Account at Choice One Bank.
The Muskegon River Clean-Up has been rescheduled for August 7, 2021 next year. Won’t you plan to join us for an enjoyable day on the Muskegon River and help us keep it clean? Even though the event has been cancelled this year, we would challenge everyone who floats the Muskegon River or any river, to pick up any trash they find and dispose of it properly.
If you have any questions or wish to make a donation, please contact Jerry at 231-578-5465.
Newaygo County School Districts Offer Virtual Delivery Model
Opening date for local school districts in Newaygo County will be August 31, 2020. Our staff have been working hard developing plans for returning to school with delivery models that include face-to-face instruction, as well as 100% virtual instruction. Regardless of what plan is ultimately implemented, please be assured that your family and your students will remain an important part of your local school district and we are working to have a plan to meet each family’s preference.
We know that regardless of the plan, some families will not yet be comfortable with sending their students back into a school building. Therefore, we would like to announce that all public schools in Newaygo County will also have a 100% virtual (online) delivery model designed by educators, in addition to face-to-face instruction. Students enrolled in the virtual (online) delivery model will still be an important part of their local school district.
Very soon, families will receive a survey about their preferred delivery model, which will help us plan for fall 2020. More information on the curriculum, staff, and teachers will be shared in the near future.
We know this is a difficult time, as families are preparing their children the upcoming school year. We appreciate your patience and support.
Ed Canning, Superintendent of White Cloud Public Schools
Ken Haggart, Superintendent of Fremont Public Schools
Dr. Peg Mathis, Superintendent of Newaygo Public Schools
Dr. Lori Tubbergen Clark, Superintendent of Newaygo County RESA
Vaughn White, Superintendent of Hesperia Community Schools
Brett Zuver, Superintendent of Grant Public Schools
Enbridge CFO testified that the company is not obligated to cover losses
From our friends at DNR:
On Wednesday, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger sent a letter to Enbridge Inc., following up on his request that the corporation enter into a written agreement with the State of Michigan to provide financial assurances to cover all damages and losses caused to property or individuals due to operation of the Line 5 dual pipelines through the Straits of Mackinac.
In response to Eichinger’s original request, which he sent on Friday, July 17, Enbridge Inc. stated that it was already committed to providing the requested financial assurance. The company also submitted a letter to the State of Michigan on July 20, 2020 and pledged to take “full responsibility for the clean-up of any incident in Michigan or anywhere along our pipeline system.” Eichinger raised several concerns about this pledge in his letter to Enbridge Inc. and again asked the company to sign a written agreement.
“If Enbridge Inc. is really committed to providing financial assurance to the people of Michigan, they’ll enter into a written agreement to that effect,” said Eichinger. “We will continue working around the clock to get these pipelines that transport crude oil out of the Great Lakes as soon as possible. While we continue this work, Enbridge Inc. must provide full financial assurance to the people of Michigan that the company will meet its obligations in the event there is a spill or some other disastrous damage to the Great Lakes.”
“I’m shocked at Enbridge Inc.’s refusal so far to sign a written agreement promising to cover the costs of an oil spill in the Great Lakes if this unthinkable event were to happen,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “When I was a kid, my parents taught me: ‘You break it, you pay for it.’ It seems that’s the bare minimum Enbridge Inc. owes every Michigander so long as the company continues to pump crude oil through the Straits of Mackinac.”
One of the concerns Eichinger raised was that Enbridge Inc.’s Chief Financial Officer for U.S. operations, Mr. Chris Johnston, testified in Minnesota that as a Canadian parent company, Enbridge Inc. is not contractually obligated to cover the indemnity and other financial assurance commitments of its subsidiaries. Minnesota Administrative Law Judge Ann O’Reilly accepted Mr. Johnston’s testimony, and recommended that Minnesota obtain a guarantee and indemnity/hold harmless agreement from Enbridge Inc., the parent company, to cover the financial liabilities of the Line 3 Applicant. Enbridge Inc. provided a guarantee/indemnity for the State of Minnesota. Eichinger requested an indemnity agreement in his letter to Enbridge Inc.
In his July 17 letter to Enbridge Inc., Eichinger requested an agreement that includes the following:
On June 25, 2020, Ingham County Circuit Court Judge James S. Jamo granted Attorney General Dana Nessel’s motion for a temporary restraining order requiring Enbridge Energy to cease all transport operations of its Line 5 twin pipelines.
Michigan's Dragon Trail Official First Ride
By Alexis Mercer
Organizers, project partners and media met at Brower Park in Stanwood on Monday, July 20, 2020 to hold the first official trail ride and hike on the much anticipated Dragon Trail.
The project is more than 8 years in the making, according to Martin Hall with the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance. The first sections of the trail have opened up, marking what is the start of a 3.5 million dollar project with 47 total planned miles when all is said and done.
Jeff Abel, Superintendent of Mecosta County Parks, Eric O'Neil, Mecosta County Parks Commissioner, Martin Hall and Jodi Overman, from The Nonprofit Spot all spoke to the crowd gathered for the event.
As of Monday nearly 6 miles of the trail have been opened to the public. This includes the 1 mile loop at Brower Park in Mecosta County and close to 5 miles at Hardy Dam in Newaygo County. The landscape varies but the entire trail is on Consumers Energy property, which is dense forest with many overlooks onto the Muskegon River.
Newaygo and Mecosta counties have been working in close alliance to make this dream a reality: a destination trail for bikers, hikers and runners. Just over 1 million has already been raised for the project, according to Overman, but still another 2.5 million needs to be raised to see the project to its completion.
Information about the trail can be found at thedragon.us, including a spot for anyone to donate to the cause.
White Cloud, MI: The Consumers Energy Foundation awarded a grant in the amount of $200,000 to help build Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam (Dragon Trail), a 47-mile non-motorized, multi-use trail forming a loop around the Hardy Pond Reservoir.
“Consumers Energy would like to thank Newaygo County, Mecosta County and the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance for their work to build an impressive asset in our community,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “We are proud to have had a hand in nurturing the project from initial concept to this grand opening, including to help determine an environmentally-friendly route for the trail through our property as well as with significant funding support from the Consumers Energy Foundation. We are confident the Dragon Trail will provide a boost to the local economy, and welcome all to enjoy the trail and surrounding natural beauty along the Muskegon River, our woods and reservoirs.”
The Dragon Trail has been in the works for a decade, and after receiving final approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and support by valuable partners such as Consumers Energy Foundation, ground was broken on the trail in fall 2019. Since then, approximately six miles of the trail has been completed and opened to the public for biking and hiking.
The newly opened segments of the Dragon Tail include portions of segments four, nine, and ten, in both Mecosta and Newaygo counties. Visitors will traverse fiberglass truss bridges, boardwalk, and natural surface trail over beautiful terrain. Impressive scenic overlooks with views of Hardy Pond punctuate the trail that is open. More information about the status of open and upcoming segments can be found at thedragon.us.
“The support of partners such as the Consumers Energy Foundation is key to making the trail a reality,” said fundraiser Jodi Overman. “With an overall goal of $3.7 million, it will take commitments from corporate entities, private foundations, and passionate individual donors to get us there, and we’re grateful that Consumers Energy has been a leader with this project from the beginning.”
To learn how you can help build or maintain the Dragon, or make a gift, visit thedragon.us.
Eichinger asks parent company to assume obligation in case of disaster
LANSING, Mich. – Today, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger sent a letter to Enbridge Inc., requesting that the corporation enter into a written agreement with the State of Michigan to provide financial assurances to cover all damages and losses caused to property or individuals due to operation of the Line 5 dual pipelines through the Straits of Mackinac. Eichinger requested that Enbridge Inc. enter into a written agreement with the State of Michigan to provide sufficient financial assurances to cover any loss, including a catastrophic release from the dual pipelines.
“As recent events have reminded us, we must get these pipelines that transport crude oil out of the Great Lakes as soon as possible,” said Eichinger. “In the meantime, Enbridge must provide full financial assurance to the people of Michigan that the company will meet its obligations in the event there is a spill or some other disastrous damage to the Great Lakes.”
The 1953 Easement allowing placement of the Line 5 dual pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac requires Enbridge Energy Company Inc., the corporate successor to Lakehead Pipe Line Company, to compensate the State of Michigan for all damages and losses caused by the operation of the pipelines, and to provide insurance, bond or surety liability coverage.
Under former Gov. Rick Snyder, Enbridge signed an agreement to fulfill that requirement, but only signed as a subsidiary of Enbridge Inc. The subsidiary does not have sufficient resources to cover the costs of a spill. Additionally, in an expert report titled An Analysis of The Enbridge Financial Assurances Offered to the State of Michigan On Matters Related To The Operation of the Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline At the Straits of Mackinac (Oct. 29, 2019), American Risk Management Resources Network (ARMRN) concluded that Enbridge Inc. is not subject to the indemnity language under the 1953 Easement. To address this deficiency, in his letter to Enbridge, Eichinger requested an agreement that includes the following:
On Tuesday, June 30, Joseph Fox, Newaygo County COA Director, was invited to a presentation and press conference at VanEerden Foodservices in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The special guest was Sonny Perdue, United States Secretary of Agriculture. The host was Dan VanEerden, VanEerden Foodservices CEO.
The focus of the program was on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Boxes that are currently being distributed to families and individuals experiencing food scarcity across the United States because of the C-19 situation. This program was developed to move food directly from farmers to tables of people in need. Here is a summary of the program from the USDA website:
As part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Secretary Perdue announced on April 17, USDA is exercising authority under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to purchase and distribute agricultural products to those in need. Through this program, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is partnering with national, regional and local suppliers, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products. The program will supply boxes packaged with fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat products and a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products. Suppliers will package these products into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.
The first round of purchases totaling up to $1.2 billion occurred from May 15 through June 30, 2020. The second round will aim to purchase up to $1.47 billion July 1 through August 31, 2020. AMS may elect to extend the period of performance of the contracts, via option periods, dependent upon program success and available remaining funds, up to $3 billion.
VanEerden Foodservices became a vital link in the distribution chain of these commodities. Locally, the Newaygo County Commission on Aging (COA) has distributed over 800 of these food boxes to meals-on-wheels participants and other families in need. It is expected that the program will continue into September and possibly longer. For further information about the Produce Boxes, Meals-on-Wheels, and other older adult services in Newaygo County, please call the COA (231-689-2100).
3-Week Hardy Dam Road Closure to Begin July 20
NEWAYGO, Mich. – Consumers Energy announced Hardy Dam Road will be closed both directions for approximately three weeks beginning July 20.
The temporary closure is needed to allow crews to safely perform soil studies at Hardy Dam for a future auxiliary spillway project there.
Detour signs will direct motorists south to Croton Drive as the shortest alternative route.
“We have planned our work to minimize the detour time for our valued neighbors and visitors,” said Neil Dziedzic, executive director of hydro operations for Consumers Energy. “We are proud of our ongoing commitment to enhance the integrity and safety of our river hydro facilities, and we certainly appreciate the patience of those impacted by the detour.”
All recreational access sites on both sides of Hardy Dam – Hardy Dam Marina and launch, Operators Village Park, and the canoe portage -- will remain open during the road closure.
Michigan State Police Seeking to Hire Troopers
PAW PAW, MICH. The Michigan State Police (MSP) recognizes the importance and is committed to hiring individuals who are uniquely different while working together as one. We are seeking to hire people who believe in holding themselves accountable to forge authentic relationships, who want to make a difference in their communities, and want to provide the highest quality public service to all citizens throughout Michigan.
The minimum requirements for employment are as follows:
For more information on how to begin the process for a rewarding career, contact Tpr. Kellie Shaffer at Shafferk@michigan.gov.
Roland Reed and Mikhail Salacina
Fremont Area Community Foundation held its annual members meeting on June 18. Members elected two new trustees and reelected four incumbents to the organization’s Board of Trustees.
Members of the Community Foundation are chosen by virtue of their leadership positions in the community, and their primary responsibility is to meet annually to elect trustees. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was held virtually for the first time in the organization’s history.
Roland Reed and Mikhail Salacina were each elected by the members to join the Community Foundation board.
Reed is a partner and CPA with H&S Companies. A native of Fremont, Reed earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in accountancy from Wake Forest University. He also serves on the Community Foundation’s Professional Advisors Board.
“I always thought about how I would give back,” said Reed, who returned to the area with his family after living outside Michigan for several years. “We have a great community here, with great people. When you look around the country, if we’re going to affect positive change, it has to start at the community level. I’m looking forward to being a part of what the future holds here. It’s exciting to think about what we can do in the next few years.”
Salacina is an attorney and partner at Schuiteman & Salacina, PLC. He graduated from Newaygo High School and earned bachelor’s degrees in political and biological science from Wayne State University. He earned his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
“I grew up in Newaygo County and I wanted to do something to give back to my community,” said Salacina. “I think we have opportunities here you wouldn’t have elsewhere. I see firsthand in my occupation the difference you can make in people’s lives. I think in a smaller community like ours, the impact you can have is often more direct. I’m really looking forward to serving on the board and seeing what impact we can make in a positive way for Newaygo County.”
Trustee incumbents Lola Harmon-Ramsey, William Alsover, Randy McDonald, and Peggy Rossler were each elected to serve additional three-year terms on the board.
Following the members meeting, the Board of Trustees met and elected new members to the boards of the Amazing X Charitable Trust and Elderly Needs Fund—the Community Foundation’s two supporting organizations.
For the first time in its history, the Elderly Needs Fund board will welcome two youth members. Brennan Schuler of Fremont and Christian Burns of Newaygo—both members of the Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee—were each elected to three-year terms. Schuler will be a junior at Fremont High School in the fall and Burns is a homeschool student going into his sophomore year. The Elderly Needs Fund supports the health and well-being of seniors in Newaygo County.
Mary Ethel Lobrigas, Dawn Anderson, and Ada Linderman were each elected to three-year terms on the Amazing X board. The Amazing X Charitable Trust was created to support community members with varying abilities and to address general charitable needs.
White Cloud Rotary Club inducts new President
White Cloud -The White Cloud Rotary Club recently inducted Michele LaFontsee as President of the Club for 2020-2021 year. Michele owns Accurate Screen in White Cloud. Lora Kalkofen is President-Elect and has recently retired as City Manager of White Cloud. Betty Carpenter will continue as Club Secretary, and Julia Bird, as Treasurer of the Club.
Holly Moon, Past President, handed off the President’s gavel during the induction ceremony, and thanked Michele and Lora for their willingness to serve. “It has been my distinct pleasure to serve the Club in this leadership role,” stated Holly in her parting remarks. “I am proud to be a member of this wonderful group of Rotarians!” Holly also served as Club President in 2008-2009.
White Cloud Rotary is a volunteer organization based on the principle of ‘Service Above Self’ and the advancement of high ethical standards, goodwill and civic responsibility. The Club meets every Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. at White Cloud Rotary Park during the health crisis.
Got a little time on your hands?
Feel like making a little cash?
Like the kind of work that involves a little inside and a little outside?
Well then step forward because we have an ideal gig for you.
Newaygo County is hiring Park Attendants...very cool jobs at some very cool campgrounds with the opportunity to not only be a part of the burgeoning local tourist industry but to walk around with a little cash in your pocket for doing so.
Up to 40 hours a week from now through October so if you’ve plans for the winter this job will be wrapped up before you head south, or hibernate, or decide to take that promised position in Costa Rica.
What's the skinny?
Well, you need to have a HS diploma or GED and having a little customer service experience sure wouldn’t hurt.
Of course the ability to pass a drug test and background check is essential as is a driver’s license.
NC Parks has a whole lot of really amazing folks and you get to be part of their team and not only that, you will likely meet a sea of interesting folks who love camping at these waterfront treasures.
For more information about the job and to apply online go to the County website countyofnewaygo.com and select the careers tab.
Submit an employment application to Newaygo County Human Resources in person at 1087 Newell Street, White Cloud, MI.
And if you tell them you heard about it through Near North?
It won’t mean a thing but we like having our name bantered about.
Governor Whitmer today signed an Executive Order closing indoor service at bars throughout most of lower Michigan. Regions 6 and 8, which include the Upper Peninsula and much of northern Michigan, are excluded from the order, and bars statewide can continue to serve outdoors. The governor also signed a package of bills allowing cocktails-to-go at bars and restaurants to help these businesses serve more Michiganders during this time.
As bars have reopened for indoor service across the country, some have been linked to a growing number of large outbreaks. In Michigan, for example, health officials in Ingham County have linked 107 confirmed COVID-19 cases to an outbreak in a single bar in East Lansing. Similar super-spreader events have been documented in bars in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and elsewhere.
The governor’s order applies to establishments with on-premises retailer liquor licenses that earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from alcohol sales. That means that most brewpubs, distilleries, and vineyards can stay open indoors. Traditional bars, nightclubs, and strip clubs will have to end indoor service.
“Bars will not have to close down completely, but may still offer outdoor seating and use creative methods like cocktails-to-go in hopes that we can bring our numbers down,” said the Governor.. “I am hopeful providing options for cocktails-to-go and expanded social districts will ensure these businesses can remain open and Michiganders can safely and responsibly enjoy their summer outdoors.”
Fremont Area Community Foundation Leverages $3.5M to Support Small Businesses in Newaygo County
Fremont Area Community Foundation recently announced a partnership with MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) to create the Small Business Recovery Loan Program. Up to $3.4 million is being leveraged by the Community Foundation with MSUFCU to support businesses in Newaygo County. An additional $100,000 was invested in Northern Initiatives to provide small business loans. Northern Initiatives is a community development financial institution (CDFI) that provides loans and business expertise for start-up and existing businesses that might not otherwise qualify for loans from traditional financial institutions.
The loan program at MSUFCU is designed to assist small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent state shutdown. During the stay at home order, many businesses were temporarily closed, resulting in lost income, staff layoffs, and ongoing fixed costs that created financial drain. The loans are meant to serve as short-term funding to help local businesses get back on their feet.
“We know that many local businesses applied for federal aid in the past several months. While most received a small amount of recovery funding, many were denied or not even allowed to apply,” said Carla Roberts, President and CEO. “The Community Foundation wants to preserve the existing businesses in our community and give them the tools to not only survive but to thrive as our state slowly reopens and businesses once again generate income.”
Loans from $5,000 to $50,000 are available for Newaygo County businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees. The terms of the loans are favorable with a low interest rate and up to a five-year term. The first principal and interest payments may not be due until 90 days after closing, depending on the needs of the business. Both nonprofit and for-profit entities are eligible to apply, including service, retail, agriculture, commercial, and industrial businesses.
“In essence, we are standing behind the small business community and using the Community Foundation’s assets as a kind of collective bargaining chip to leverage the support we believe local businesses will need during this recovery,” said Roberts.
In reviewing the program for compliance, Jeff Hert, CPA, principal at Rehmann Robson said, “This is a terrific program for businesses in the community and shows excellent collaboration with a partner. This is a great example of impact investment in a crisis situation for small businesses.”
Both the Community Foundation and MSUFCU believe their partnership is a natural fit and demonstrates the organizations’ shared missions to serve and improve life in the community.
“MSUFCU is pleased to partner with Fremont Area Community Foundation to provide local businesses with a newly-created loan program,” said April Clobes, President and CEO of MSUFCU. “It is all of our responsibility to lift up our businesses and communities in times of need so that everyone has the opportunity to thrive.”
Businesses interested in applying for a loan from the Small Business Recovery Loan Program can visit facommunityfoundation.org/loans for more information. Program contacts Don Farmer and Dan Wheat can also be reached directly at email@example.com.
Much awaited hike/bike trail gives visitors a peek at what’s to come. 6 Miles of trail now open
White Cloud, MI: This week, Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam, located in Mecosta and Newaygo counties, will open three segments to the public for hiking and mountain biking. The segments, which surround the Hardy Pond Reservoir, total approximately 6 miles and include three bridges and three scenic overlooks. The public can access the following segments:
● A portion of Segment 4, called the Brower Loop, has been completed. Enter Brower Park in Mecosta County and park at the upper lot for boat trailer parking. The start of the approximately 1.5 mile loop is just on the other side of the nearby amphitheater.
● Segment 9 is partially complete, with several miles of trail ready for visitors. Parking is available at Sandy Beach County Park in Newaygo County. The trail runs to the northeast approximately 3 miles. Visitors should be sure to stay on the trail, as it runs alongside several private properties and roadways. Return to Sandy Beach to continue to segment 10.
● Segment 10 is completely finished, and is an approximately 1.7 mile run of trail to the southwest of segment 9, ending at Hardy Dam County Marina. Parking is available at Sandy Beach County Park.
Detailed maps of the open sections can be found at thedragon.us/the-dragon-trail/trail-conditions/. Visitors will need to follow protocols at campgrounds to ensure they have parking passes.
Still more miles are in the works for later this year. The completed miles have come to fruition thanks to committed volunteers and generous corporate funders and partners, including the Fremont Area Community Foundation, Consumers Energy and Consumers Energy Foundation, Mecosta County Visitors Bureau, New Holland Brewing, Big Prairies Parks, West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance, Bissell, Nestle Waters of North America, the White Cloud Rotary Club, Michigan State University Extension, and Mecosta Township. A total of $1.1 million has been raised towards the $3.7 million goal.
The completed Dragon Trail will include 11 segments, 23 bridges, 13 scenic overlooks, and surround 4,000 acres of water. Named for the Hardy Pond Reservoir’s resemblance to a Chinese Dragon, the project is managed by the Newaygo and Mecosta County Park Commissions and West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance.
According to a Michigan State University Center for Economic Analysis study, the Dragon will draw 100,000 annual visitors and generate $4.15 million in annual economic activity with at least 70 new jobs.
“There is already quite a buzz about the Dragon Trail, we’re thrilled to be able to let mountain bikers and hikers get out on it,” said Jeff Abel, Mecosta County Parks Superintendent. “The trail is poised to become a major regional asset and attraction, and we’re motivated to keep adding miles to the completed total.”
The newly launched Dragon Trail website located at www.thedragon.us provides further detail on forthcoming trail openings and construction progress. The website is the go-to resource for updated information on the Dragon Trail, including the comprehensive trail plan, sustainability measures, trail features, and opportunities to support the trail. Fundraising opportunities will be shared on the website in the future to raise the final $2.6 million of the $3.7 million campaign.
To learn how you can help build or maintain the Dragon, or make a gift, visit www.thedragon.us.
ABOUT MICHIGAN’S DRAGON AT HARDY DAM
Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam is a 47-mile non-motorized, multi-use trail system located between Hardy and Rodgers 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.