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Riverfront Revival: Exciting Projects on the Grand River Water Trail

Notice anything new along the Greater Lansing riverfront? Tri-County has been hard at work this summer collaborating with local communities and regional partners to implement several projects that improve navigability and encourage regional travel of the Middle Grand River, our region’s most significant recreational waterway.

Last December, the Middle Grand River Water Trail, which extends for 87 miles throughout Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, and Ionia counties, was selected as one of Michigan’s first state-designated water trails as a result of Tri-County’s regional water trail development plan. This plan and Tri-County’s water trail projects explore new ways to improve the connectivity, quality of life, accessibility, safety, and mobility of our region.

Earlier this summer, Tri-County purchased 36 new wayfinding signs and worked with local park officials across the region to install them at public sites along the Grand River. Designed in partnership with the Middle Grand River Organization of Watersheds, the signage provides essential information for paddlers to safely navigate the river. They feature details about access sites, the distance to Lake Michigan, and a web address to an interactive Google map of the water trail, which showcases additional information about launches, hazards, and river mileage.

Most recently, Tri-County completed a 360-degree virtual tour of over 87 miles of waterways and 49 miles of local trails. Similar to Google Maps’ “Street View,” this high-resolution panoramic map will allow users to interactively explore a three-dimensional tour of the Middle Grand River Water Trail and regional hiking and biking trails, including the Lansing River Trail and the Clinton County portion of the Clinton-Ionia-Shiawassee Trail. Working with Terrain360 – a company that uses specialized cameras mounted atop a pontoon boat and trike – this tool allows paddlers and trail users to preview trails in a virtual environment and prepare for safe and enjoyable experiences ahead of their expeditions. The complete virtual tour, which will highlight our region’s trail amenities, attract tourists and residents, and help users match trips to their skill level, will be available on Tri-County’s website in the coming months.

These projects come at a time when our community is increasing investment into our region’s riverfront as we recognize the importance of our natural resources as both a valuable recreational asset and unique economic driver. Thanks to public, private, and nonprofit partnerships, the tri-county region is seeing more and more improvements on our riverfront, from the Community Foundation’s new Rotary Park in Downtown Lansing, to expansions of the Lansing River Trail and new local kayak and canoe launches. Robust and diverse amenities like these greatly improve the quality of life for Greater Lansing’s residents and visitors and make our region a more vibrant place to live and play.

Learn more about Tri-County’s work on the Middle Grand River Water Trail at

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