Officials celebrate opening of Flint River Trail segment on the Iron Belle Trail

A trail that the Boy Scouts cleared nearly 50 years ago is now part of the Iron Belle Trail in Genesee County.

Local government officials cut the ribbon Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, on a new, 2.25-mile section of the Flint River Trail, which is part of the statewide Iron Belle Trail. This new section of non-motorized trail winds through the woods along the south shore of Mott Lake, from the Genesee County Parks Administrative Office on Genesee Road to Vassar Road. It’s a picturesque setting sure to attract trail enthusiasts, said Mark Young, the chairman of the Genesee County Board of Commissioners.

“We’re really trying to make Genesee County a premier place, a place where people want to go,” Young said. “We’re going to have some of the best trail systems in the state.”

Barry June, Genesee County parks director, directed Thursday’s Trails Week ceremony, attended by about 50 people. He said this section of trail was cleared by the Boy Scouts in the early 1970s when they sought a project to do in that area. The trail was used for people to walk and even ride horses for years. The upgraded trail is now paved and available for multiple-uses and part of the biking portion of the Iron Belle Trail.

June called the project a “true collaboration of county government” and a great example of when “everyone works together.” Officials cited the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and the Department of Natural Resources with their funding assistance on the project and talked about future connections in the works.

Joe Krapohl, president of the county park commission, said the trail is a beautiful place for everyone in the county to enjoy.

“We work very hard to try and provide recreational opportunities for the residents of Genesee County,” Krapohl said. “This is a wonderful addition. It’s a big effort of a lot of people, a lot of time and energy.”

The Iron Belle Trail is a 2,031-mile trail that runs from Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan following two distinct routes – one hiking and one biking – across the state. The trail was a vision of Gov. Rick Snyder who challenged Michigan to build a showcase trail. Through the help of local, state and federal dollars allocated for trails as well as private donations, the Iron Belle Trail is now more than 69 percent complete.

“The Iron Belle Trail is going to be a fantastic trail when complete,” Krapohl said.