Project Partner Information
We are looking for more partners from across northern Michigan to join us in this endeavor! Our group is currently working to form in an official capacity, and we need more partners to sign on in order to ensure we are a true multi-regional collaboration and to ensure that each portion of northern Michigan is well represented in this endeavor. We plan to seek out private foundation funding and our efforts are stronger with more partners on board. If you would like to join this effort, please contact Denise Cline.
Identify other potential project partners
Form recreational collaborative with bylaws
Seek out funding for initial website development
The Up North Trails Collaborative has been awarded $40,000 from the MEDC (Northeast Michigan) and $27,500 from USDA (Northeast and Northwest Michigan) to complete trail data aggregation, asset mapping, mobile website, and a trail town initiative in Northeast Michigan. Additionally, Rotary Charities has awarded $35,000 for asset collection in Northwest Michigan!
Working together to market "Up North"
Northern Michigan is home to hundreds of miles of fantastic trails available to a variety of users north of the 44th parallel. Visitors can access hiking trails, biking trails, snowmobile trails, ski trails, horse trails, ORV trails, and water trails. Many visitors to northern Michigan have remarked that we have some of the best trails in the country. The challenge? More people need to hear about them!
Recently, a new collaboration of partners has formed which feels that we can accomplish more together than we can separately. We have a goal of collectively marketing all northern Michigan recreational assets from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron with an Up North identity so that the rest of the country knows what it really means to go "Up North".
Who's on board?
Our group consists of a broad coalition of partners including regional agencies, state agencies, local agencies, and trail user groups which all have the same goal in mind - making northern Michigan a nationally-known recreation destination. There is power in numbers, so we want to include as many partners as we can in order to accomplish our goal. Here is a list of partners that have attended meetings so far in the interest of collaborating to improve northern Michigan's economy through tourism marketing:
Up North Trails Collaborative Participants
Northeast Michigan Council of Governments
Northwest Michigan Council of Governments
Land Information Access Association
Top of Michigan Trails Council
Eastern UP Planning & Development Comm.
Michigan Department of Transportation
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Michigan State University Extension
Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance
US 23 Heritage Route
North Country Trail Association
Michigan Municipal League
Indian River Chamber of Commerce
Michigan Trail Riders Association
Presque Isle County Development Commission
Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians
Mackinaw Area Chamber of Commerce
Topinabee Development Association
Village of Mackinaw City
Burt Lake Trail Committee
City of Grayling
Crawford County Trails Committee
Rogue Industrial Services
Lake to Lake Charlevoix Trail
City of Alpena
MSU 4-H Youth Development
Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce
Northern Lakes Economic Alliance
USDA - Forest Service
Indian River & Tip of the Mitt Snowmobile Grooming Council
Michigan Snowmobile Association
North Central Michigan College
Cheboygan Chamber of Commerce
Otsego County Economic Alliance
Michigan Mountain Biking Association
Grayling Visitor's Bureau
Higgins Lake Roscommon Chamber of Commerce
St. Helen Snowpackers
Two Trackers Four-Wheel Drive Association
Brown Trout Festival
Roscommon County EDC
West Branch Area Chamber of Commerce
Our plans...website first
Web-based marketing is the first obvious step to effectively make our region known throughout the country. LIAA, NEMCOG, and MDOT partnered last year to create a coastal tourism marketing website for the US 23 Heritage Route. The website provides visitors with detailed information on over 900 things to see and do along coastal northeast Michigan. Visitors can search based on their area of interest or geographical area. The site allows visitors to create their own itinerary and map to better plan their trip. The site has been very successful and has received over 7,400 visits from 77 different countries since September. The US 23 Heritage Route program has become a partner in the Pure Michigan campaign and has established a recognizable identity as the Sunrise Coast.
Our group intends to use that program structure as a model to create a northern Michigan identity and an interactive mapping website which contains detailed information on all types of trail systems in northern Michigan as well as information about the things to do and see and services available around the trail systems. We are planning a tourism-based trails website that is unlike anything that northern Michigan currently has to offer. This website will be a one-stop shop for all types of trail systems where users can access pre-made maps, helmet camera videos, trail information such as segment length, difficulty, surface, and condition, and nearby points of interest and services. In addition, the website will contain an interactive mapping component which will allow users to design their own maps based on the desired trail type and points of interest that they choose. Also, private businesses (i.e. restaurants, lodging, etc) will appear on the site as they do on the US 23 site. The regional councils of governments are committed to providing staff support to keep the site updated in order to provide the most current information to potential visitors. This website will use a centralized database that is also used for the US 23 site so that information across northern Michigan only has to be updated in a central location.
• Printed materials such as guidebooks, brochures, and maps.
• Smartphone apps
• Regional participation in the Pure Michigan campaign
• Widespread media campaign
Trail Town Economic Development Strategy
We intend to provide a blueprint for how local leaders can utilize their trail systems to develop and support new opportunities for tourism and economic development.