Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail Connecting Communities – Fall 2017 Update

Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail Connecting Communities

October 2017

Recently, Kent County Parks and Recreation completed their portion of the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail to the Barry County line at 108th Street Caledonia. This finished segment opens the Thornapple Trail from 108th Street to 44th Street at Kentwood.

Communities along the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail are at various connecting stages.

108th Street to Stimpson Road. This portion of the rail bed is owned by Barry County Parks and Recreation and under consideration for improvement. The railgrade section from Stimpson Rd. to Middleville’s Crane Road trailhead is privately held and under the jurisdiction of Thornapple Township, who is currently working with owners.

Middleville owns the paved segment of the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail from Crane Road to McCann Road at Irving. Middleville also owns the rail bed from McCann Road to Irving Road just short of the Whispering Waters campground. Development of this 1.5-mile section is in the Village of Middleville’s 2020 budget. Middleville’s 2018 budget includes funds for bridge rebuilding and resurfacing 3.5 miles from downtown Middleville to McCann Road.

Connecting to Hastings from Irving Road is under investigation. Hastings owns most of the trail in Rutland Township along Heath Road behind Walmart, and Aldi’s to McDonald’s. The Paul Henry- Thornapple Trail is completed through the city (Hastings Riverwalk).

Barry County Parks owns sections of the railgrade between Hastings and Nashville and a continuous section from west of Nashville to the border of Eaton County at Curtis Road. Development of the Nashville segment is being discussed.

Eaton County’s portion of the Paul Henry -Thornapple Trail begins a Curtis Road and continues 2.5 miles into Vermontville. The 1.5 mile section from Maple Valley High School to Vermontville has been paved under a Safe Route to Schools grant.

Playing a key role throughout this process of connecting communities is the Thornapple Trail Association. Through the years, the Thornapple Trail Association has supported development, maintenance, and promotion of the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail. In April of 2016, the group headed a highly successful fund drive to help complete the trail from downtown Middleville to Crane Road.

As communities push forward to connect, the Thornapple Trail Association’s supporting role is expected to grow, prompting a need for new “friends” to join in support of the Thornapple Trails Association’s work.

It is easy to be a Friend of the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail. Click here to join the Thornapple Trail Association in its work to connect communities along the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail.