10 miles available to be added to Dragon Trail this year
Photos By Jodi Albaitus
Stanwood, MI: Construction at Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam is ramping up for the 2021 season, adding a projected 10 miles to the already finished total of 14.6 since ground broke on the project in late 2019.
Once complete, the Dragon Trail will be made up of 11 segments forming a complete loop around Hardy Pond, traversing through both Mecosta and Newaygo counties. Of the 14.6 miles already open to the public, the vast majority of those miles are in Newaygo County, starting at Hardy Dam and ending in Big Bend Park. A 1.3 mile loop is open already in Mecosta County inside Brower Park, and trail builders with Flowtrack Mountain Bike Trails LLC are using an area in Brower Park as a staging zone to begin work for 2021. Trail construction started two weeks ago.
Construction plans for this year include an estimated 10-mile stretch from near Brower Loop, which is in segment four, and will go through segments five, six, and a portion of segment seven. Mecosta Township procured a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund grant to fund half of this work, and funds raised by individual donors and corporate and charitable partners will round out the rest of the funds needed this year. The new trail segments will feature bridges, raised wooden tread, bike-optimized trail, and more. Brower Park has just completed a new parking area specifically for Dragon Trail users with easy access to the new portions of trail being built this season.
The Dragon Trail already sees a tremendous number of 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. Mecosta County administrators and partners are excited to have more trail mileage opened up in this area.
“Seeing the Dragon come to life has been exciting for us all after so many years,” said Mecosta County Parks Superintendent Jeff Abel. “There is a lot of work yet to do to complete this project,, and having another 10 miles available in Mecosta County will help get us closer to the finish line.”
Funds are still needed to finish the trail. Fundraiser Jodi Albaitis noted that this year’s mileage will bring the trail to around just over half complete.
“The faster we can raise funds for the trail, the more quickly we can add miles,” said Albaitis. “Trail usage is growing exponentially, and we’re thrilled with the reception of the trail so far.”
Visitors to the Dragon Trail can find the latest segment details, such as where to park and where to find each open segment on the trail’s website on trail conditions and segment pages, as well as on the Frequently Asked Questions page.
To learn how you can help sponsor Dragon Trail building, bridges, kiosks, and more, or to make a gift, visit 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 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.
Project Managed By Newaygo County Parks and Recreation Commission ∙ Mecosta County Park Commission ∙ West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance