By Trevor Darnell
Listen Up, Lansing Staff Reporter
The Lansing River Trail has become a big part of Lansing tourism over the years. It currently stretches from Waverly Road to Old Town and from Potter Park into Michigan State University. Plus, it now has over 20 miles of paved trails through numerous parks and natural areas, including downtown Lansing.
“I run a few times a week on the River Trail bird walks. It not only is a good place for long distance, but the environment makes my runs so much more interesting and beautiful. There’s no better place to run or bike; birds singing and animals running at every turn you make,” said Cherry Liz, an East Lansing resident.
Work has been recently done on the River Trail, the state added a 2-mile hiking/biking trail which now runs along Jolly Road and connects with the Lansing Trail at Maguire Park on the south end.
There are many more things that are positives that go along with the River Trail as well.
“Amenities like this tend to enhance property values and increase the property tax base. Resulting increased property tax collections will, at the minimum, offset the cost of trail development and maintenance. Also, attributes like ready access to a trail are among the first things people share about where they live when discussing where they live with non-residents,” said Don Holecek, a Michigan State University professor and expert in the tourism and Michigan’s tourism industry.
“There are a couple of obvious potential negatives,” said Holecek. “These include the need to maintain the trail very well and to insure that it is a crime-free zone.”
“The River Trail is extremely unique, it offers a beautiful number of trails for everyone that uses it. It offers people to see nature in a beautiful way with animals and wildlife in all forms,” says Tony Beyers, Board Member for Friends of the River Trail, a group in which helps promote and maintain the trails.
Friends for the River Trail helps the trails in many ways. According to the Friends of Lansing River Trail Website, the groups:
• Engages members in meaningful river trail activity
• Raises funds through public and private donations
• Unites organizations with similar interests to cross promote river trail activity
• Promotes trail safety, maintenance and expansion
• Raises awareness of the health and wellness benefits of using the Lansing River Trail
• Promotes the community and economic value that the River Trail provides
Impression 5 is a science center located just off the River Trail for families to stop and observe while walking the trails. This learning enviroment opened in 1972 in downtown Lansing on Museum Drive.
“We have a large number of things for families to do at Impression 5, some of our exhibits include the Spectrum exhibit where you can use a giant light mosaic and learn about lenses and the electomagnetic spectrum to the creative construction area called Build Zone where you build with large foam bricks,” said Exhibits Team Leader at Impression 5, Matthew Hill.
“In addition, we are also hosting a traveling exhibit about the fossil record called Paleomania and the Capital Area Railroad Society has an enormous model trail layout on our first floor. Both will be at Impression 5 through the beginning of next year. We also have a fantastic set of programs including L.A.B.S (learning about basic science) which are day and week long day camps for children over winter, spring, and summer breaks,” said Hill.