LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments has been awarded $1.4 million to boost outdoor recreation by enhancing trail capacity along the Manistee County Rural Communities Multi-Use Trail as part of a U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration grant program. The project is expected to support a total of 65 jobs in the area.
“This grant to support Northern Michigan’s outdoor recreation industry will help us continue growing our economy, creating good-paying jobs, and investing in every region of the state,” Whitmer said. “The investment will create or retain 65 good-paying jobs in Traverse City to extend the Betsie Valley Trail and build a bridge over Bear Creek. Earlier this year, I signed the bipartisan Building Michigan Together Plan, which made the largest one-time investment in our state and local parks in state history, bolstering countless tourism and recreation businesses across Michigan. Today’s grant builds on that plan to invest in pure Michigan and will help us keep moving forward.”
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow called the investment “important” and said it will “boost the region’s tourism economy.”
“Tourists come from all over to enjoy Betsie Valley Trail’s breathtaking views and outdoor activities,” Stabenow said.
Brad Garmon, director of the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry office, pointed out the outdoor recreation industry is a nearly $10 billion economy supporting more than 100,000 direct jobs in Michigan.
“Direct investments like this into the state’s world-class trails and communities will help us continue to attract and retain talent, spark more private investment in future outdoor products and innovation, and help these communities be good stewards as they provide access to the great outdoors for more people,” Garmon said.
The project will extend the Betsie Valley Trail and construct a bridge over Bear Creek that will provide direct access from local communities to the trail. The EDA investment will be matched with $347,820 in local funds and is expected to create or retain 65 jobs and generate $500,000 in private investment.
This project is funded under the EDA’s $240 million competitive American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program. EDA awarded $510 million in grants to all 50 states and territories in 2021. The programs are designed to accelerate the recovery of communities that rely on travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation. Effective May 26, 2022, EDA has officially closed all of its American Rescue Plan programs for applications. The $3 billion program funding will be awarded on a rolling basis through Sept. 30.