Michigan longboarding roots are dense in distance skateboarding. Commuting point A to B is part of everyone’s life, and it feels good on on a skateboard. Only the past 30 years or so the majority of Americans have invested a major chunk of their savings into automobiles, and bikes- to commute point A to B. Automotives are rad! Bikes are pretty cool too. But, you can’t drive an automotive on a State-Trail networks.
The mitten-state, carved by glaciers, offers some of the best State-Trail networks and comfortable cruiser paths you might find in the USA. Many of the best trails we skate were designed by railroad engineers in the 1830’s. Railroads have been vital in the history of population and trade of rough and finished goods in the state of Michigan. While some coastal settlements had previously existed, the population, commercial, and industrial growth of the state further bloomed with the establishment of the railroad. Detroit & Howell R Co v. Salem Township Board, (20 Mich. 452) (1870) is a legal case in which the Michigan Supreme Court held that the Michigan State Constitution of 1850 prohibited the use of public money to finance a privately owned railroad. Following the case, two privately-funded railroads would dominate the Michigan landscape: the Michigan Central Railroad and the Michigan Southern Railroad. A second wave of construction came in the 1850s as federally sponsored land grants encouraged the development of new routes such as the north-south Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad and the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad, which traversed the lumber-rich region of northern Michigan.
Like the rise and fall of the hula-hoop, most awesome stuff in life is her today, gone tomorrow. The majority of Michigan’s railroad network ceased operation in the mid-1980’s, the Michigan Department of Transportation came to own the rail bed. By 1994 the property was transferred to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which began replacing the rails with a trail for public recreational use. Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park is a 92-mile (148 km) long linear state park in the U.S. state of Michigan. Snowmobiles are permitted on most of the trail, between Russell Road (near Cedar Springs) and South Street in Cadillac. Motorized wheel vehicles (other than personal accessibility devices) are not permitted. The trail extends from northern Grand Rapids to Cadillac, and it lies on the path graded for the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad. The White Pine Trail is a rail trail park. It was named the “Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park” after a donation by grocery store executive Fred Meijer. Due to reduced public funding for state parks in Michigan, the trail’s upkeep depends largely on volunteers, organized by Friends of the White Pine Trail.
Like-minded groups who appreciate distance skateboarding continue to encourage and promote participation, new opportunities present themselves almost weekly. Do we have the participation numbers to justify the events? We’ll see, as two new Distance Skateboarding events premiere in July. Word.