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Who are Friends of the Blue Star Trail?

Friends of the Blue Star Trail is an all volunteer organization located in Casco Township, Allegan County, Michigan. Its purpose is to assist area governmental units, the county parks department and the county road commission in the development and promotion of a proposed 20 mile recreation pathway. Read more....

Construction Begins!

 

 

 

 

At long last our trailway has started! We have completed a section of off road trail along the west side of Blue Star Highway in Saugatuck Township. 

The Bicycle

 

 

 

 

The fourth article in a series on the benefits of outdoors biking, written for the Allegan  County Community Foundation Spotlight newsletter, by Mike McCarthy. Please share with your friends and neighbors. Read more...

Friends of the Blue Star Trail

Open Letter to the Community

A local citizen made a comment at a Saugatuck City Council meeting that “we are not building a nuclear power plant, we are building a recreational trail!”  It is sometimes difficult to keep this simple perspective on the Trail in the face of sensationalistic headlines from the Local Observer.  The following is a response to some of the comments in these articles. 

Trails have been built all over Michigan, now including the mile recently built in Saugatuck Township. Most have used a similar funding strategy as The Friends of the Blue Star Trail; obtain federal and state grants available for trails, raise matching funds from donors and build the trail in manageable segments. The Friends obtained a $355,000 federal grant and raised $263,000 in matching funds to build the recent segment. No local tax dollars were used. The Friends plan is to repeat this process to build additional Trail segments from Saugatuck Township to South Haven.  They are already raising funds for the next phase.   

Using what the Friends’ learned from the section recently built, and reflecting the general increase in construction costs, they revised their original 2009 estimates and now project the Trail will cost $11.1 million.  This includes a pledge of $600,000 for a maintenance endowment. This will require $3.5 million in matching funds from donors.  Not surprisingly, the cost estimate has risen, but this doesn’t impact the communities in which it will be built. Utilizing government grants, matched by donor funds, the Friends pledge to pay for the cost of construction, engineering, and maintenance.    

The Friends recently approached Allegan County to review the ownership plan agreed to in 2014.  The plan needs an update as a result of changes to the order of the trail segments that the Friends are constructing.  To address these changes Allegan County is creating a new resolution to review and consider.  The County has never been asked, nor did they ever pledge financial support for the Trail.  The Friends group and their supporters are hopeful they will approve the ownership resolution as they did in 2014.   

A 2014 Douglas Saugatuck Parks survey soliciting input from local residents demonstrated significant interest and support for trails. When asked what recreational facilities should be more developed, 80% of those who responded indicated they strongly supported or supported development of recreational trails.  The plan and survey results are available at: http://saugatucktownship.org/kcuTaGuaS/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/parkplan2019_118.pdf

Once built, trails become a valuable asset of the local community. A 2014 survey of trail owners done by Allegan County Parks Department demonstrated communities that embrace trails, love them.  A sample of the comments from owners were “The trails are an extremely popular aspect of our Township”...“The linear path is the most used park in our system”…“Yes, we believe that it has brought visitors to our county”... “Significantly popular, written up in national publications, races, destination.” 

Yes, and here at home, we are having difficulty keeping people off the Trail until the official opening. People want to get out and use it. This is not a nuclear power plant, it is a recreational trail.  

A more complete update is available at http://www.fotbst.org.

Friends of the Blue Star Trail Board of Directors

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6th Annual Lakeshore Harvest Ride

This year's event will again start at Schultz Park in Douglas, with an additional starting point at the Kal-Haven Trail Head in South Haven. Mark your calendars for September 9, 2017. For online registration, waver forms, maps and directions to the starting points check with  Lakeshore Harvest Ride - 2017.

The Story - A Slideshow

November 2017
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Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are the key to our success! The time and effort volunteers spend with our events and many projects helps to make the
Blue Star Trail a reality. If you are interested in being a volunteer send us an email to let us know.

Early Registration

Register before August 15, 2017 for the Lakeshore Harvest Ride and receive a $15 discount. Pass the word to your bike club and local bike store. Join the fun by registering online.
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Fundraising Activities

Fundraising is an integral part of our mission. Through fundraising events, membership drives and generous donations we will acquire the money to construct the Blue Star Trail.
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