Echo Valley Trail

The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes has begun raising funds to support an Environmental Assessment to evaluate the impacts of an proposed Mountain Bike trail in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The National Park Service uses an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Study to evaluate potential developments within the National Park lands. These studies involve planning processes that include public input at the beginning, during, and at the end of the assessment process. Typically, several different alternatives are created and studied. One of the alternatives is always a “No Action” alternative which evaluates leaving the land as it is currently managed. Once the study is completed and public input has been taken into account, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore management will make the decision. This whole process typically takes a couple of years. This planning process will be managed by the NPS staff, and the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes will support the staff through volunteers and by paying for experts to assist with the study.

We have been told by NPS management that the Environmental Assessment will begin in 2017. We will update this web page as soon as we have any further information about the timing of the planning process or schedules for any public comment periods or public meetings.

Background

In 2009, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore conducted a large-scale planning process that involved many public meetings and public comment periods to create a General Management Plan that would be used to guide management of the Park in the next 25 years. In that plan, an area of about 2,300 acres south of Glen Lake was zoned Recreational “to allow consideration for a possible future designated mountain bike trail system.” This project is intended to study the feasibility of developing a mountain bike trail in this area as described in the General Management Plan.

Proposed Echo Valley Mt. Bike Trail Location

Proposed Echo Valley Mt. Bike Trail Location

Echo Valley Road

Echo Valley Road

Since the 2009 General Management Plan was published, there has been significant interest in the local community, businesses, and mountain bike organizations in developing a mountain bike trail in the designated area.

The general vision is to have beginner, intermediate, and advanced sections, so people of all ages and skills can have fun riding through this rolling, deciduous forest. We have been working with the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) to discuss best practices for engineering, design, and construction that minimize environmental impacts and provide a safe, enjoyable trail for a wide variety of users.

 

We will update this web page as soon as we have any further information about the timing of the planning process or schedules for any public comment periods or public meetings. We also have an e-mail newsletter, which will be used to send out updates on this project. To sign up – click the Newsletter Sign-up button to the upper right part of this web page – and fill out the form.