Orchard Trail is the name given to the multi-use, non-motorized trail
on 23.5 miles of abandoned railroad right-of-way in Northern Macomb County. The
name was selected in recognition of the many orchards in this area of the
The right-of-way was abandoned by its owners, the Canadian National
Railroad. The section of right-of-way that they have recently abandoned is
38 miles long and runs from Richmond on the east to Pontiac on the west,
connecting the following communities along the way: Armada, Romeo, Shelby
Township, Rochester Hills, Rochester, and Auburn Hills. It is part of a larger
railroad once known as the Michigan Airline, which extended west of Jackson to
the small town of Concord. Other parts of this line are already used as rail
trails. The new trail also connects with the Stony Creek Metropark,
Bloomer Park, and the Paint Creek Trail.
The Friends group was formed to support the acquisition and development
of the trail in Macomb County.
The Friends mission
||To build community support for the trail by informing residents of
its many benefits|
||To act as a facilitator for funding the acquisition and
||To support the creation of an inter-local agreement among
governmental units that would ultimately own, operate, maintain, and police
||To advise local governments on community needs regarding the trail.|
Our Quarterly Newsletter: All paid members receive the quarterly
newsletter in the mail. To become a member, click
here for a membership form (cost is $10 per year).
Meeting Minutes can be
read by clicking on the dates below:
NOTE: Most meeting minutes from 2005 or later are
in PDF format which requires Adobe Reader (Free from Adobe Systems). Most
computers already have Adobe Reader, but if you need a copy, go to
and click on the "Get Adobe Reader" Icon.
No Feb. Mtg
Mar. 27, 2012
No Apr-May Mtg
June 26, 2012
No July Mtg
Aug. 21, 2012
Sep. 25, 2012
No Oct-Dec Mtg
(No Feb. Mtg.)
Mar 22, 2011
Sept. 27, 2011
Oct. 25, 2011
No Nov. Mtg
No Dec. Mtg.
Sep 28, 2010
July 27, 2010
May 25, 2010
Mar. 23, 2010
Jan. 26, 2010
Mar 24, 2009
May 26, 2009
July 28, 2009
Sep. 22, 2009
Oct. 26 2009
Nov. 24, 2009
No Feb. Mtg.
Mar. 25, 2008
No Apr. Mtg.
May 27, 2008
Jun 25, 2008
July 22, 2008
Aug. 26, 2008
|(No Dec. Mtg.)
May 23, 2007
|(No Dec. Mtg.)
Nov. 28, 2006
(No Jul. Mtg)
Apr. 25, 2006
(No Feb. Mtg)
Jan. 24, 2006
|(No Dec. Mtg)
Aug. 23, 2005
July 26, 2005
June 28, 2005
Mar. 22, 2005
(No Feb. Mtg)
Jan, 25, 2005
(No Aug. Mtg)
July 27, 2004
Feb. 25, 2003
Jan. 08, 2002
Below are links to Newspaper Articles
regarding the trail:
Please Note: The
Romeo Observer carries achieves only back thru Oct. 2003, plus a few sporadic
issues before then, so most older links will not work, sorry.
Observer, Apr.30, 2008 - Pedestrian bridge scheduled for
completion in July. Walkers and
bikers will have a safe way of traversing M-53 beginning this summer.
Construction has begun on a pedestrian covered bridge that will
stretch over M-53 just north of 32 Mile Road, connecting the Macomb
Orchard Trail on either side of the bypass. The bridge is scheduled for
completion in July.|
said there is some extra work needed in a stony section east of Powell
Road that could be completed in the fall.
The Detroit Free Press - May 25, 2007: Hit the trail for 7
miles. Second part to be completed in the fall. Dust off your bicycle,
jogging shoes and inline skates. Spring is upon us, and for many outdoor
lovers, that means hitting the asphalt of the Macomb Orchard Trail.|
Observer - May 16, 2007: Macomb Orchard Trail to be
finished by fall of 2007.
The Friends of the
Macomb Orchard Trail have high hopes that the trail will be completed
this fall. In its last update, the board announced that a majority of
the paving work for the Romeo portions is completed, with the exception
of surfacing a bridge north of 29 Mile Road. Other parts of the trail
that have yet to be completed are north of 29 Mile Road as well.
Detroit News - Mar. 21, 2007: Trail
extension may wander right into Utica
The Macomb Orchard Trail hike and bike path, which meanders through the
rural parts of the county, soon could expand into more urban areas. The
nearly 24-mile-long trail will be extended through Shelby Township's
River Bends Park and into Utica, if the township can secure $400,000 in
Macomb Daily - Feb. 28, 2006: Bridge in Romeo will add 17 miles to
bike path. The first six-mile phase
through Shelby Township was opened last year. This summer, officials
expect to complete most of the remaining project, extending one segment of
the trail from 29 Mile to 32 Mile, and building another section from
Powell Road through Armada to Richmond. That would leave only construction
of the pedestrian bridge in spring 2007 to connect the two sections. The
path will be asphalt from Shelby Township to Romeo, crushed limestone
through Armada Township, Armada and most of Richmond Township, and asphalt
in the Richmond area.|
The Romeo Observer, June 8, 2005 - Planning for trail bridge continues.
Observer, Nov. 24, 2004: County asks that village donate land for Orchard
Trail. Two members of the Macomb County
Planning and Economic Development Department paid a visit to the Romeo Village
Council at its meeting Nov. 15, in hopes of gaining access to a small piece of
property for future use for the Macomb Orchard Trail.
Macomb Daily, Nov. 11, 2004:
County says yes to trail network.
Blueprint links Macomb with
hike/bike paths. This article discus's Macomb county's master trail plan.
link to the master plan web site mentioned in the article.
The Macomb Daily - July 27, 2004
Macomb Orchard Trail open for pleasure.
The new Macomb Orchard Trail is more than a
hike and bike path -- it promotes a way of life. That mantra was echoed by
officials Monday afternoon in the formal opening of Phase I of the pathway.|
The Romeo Observer - July 28, 2004 First phase of Macomb Orchard
Trail officially opens. It's been five
years in the making, and it's finally here. The first phase of the Macomb
Orchard Trail has been completed.|
Detroit News - Fri. July 16, 2004 - Sheriff to use bike patrols.
Members of the new Sheriff's Bicycle Division are currently in training. Among
other duties, the volunteer unit will help patrol the Macomb Orchard Trail.|
Free Press - Thurs. June 24, 2004:
New Macomb Co. trail offers a safe place for
recreation. 1st phase is to open officially next week.
The Macomb Orchard Trail offers an alternative to
riding on the road. The first phase of the trail will open June 30.
It will run 7 miles in Shelby and Washington townships, beginning at
Dequindre Road south of 24 Mile Road.|
The Macomb Daily - Sun. 3/28/2004:
Covered bridge would highlight Orchard
hope bridge would give hike/bike path a centerpiece.
Welcome to the "Bridges of Washington
Township" where members of the Friends of the Macomb Orchard Trail hope to
install a covered bridge on an old railroad bridge trestle located on the
trail between Campground and 28 Mile roads. |
The Macomb Daily, Feb. 25, 2004 -
hike-bike trails planned for Macomb.
An ambitious plan to create nearly 300 miles of
hike-bike trails that would criss-cross Macomb County is on the drawing board
and facing public scrutiny at a series of forums.
The Macomb County Trailways Master Plan would build on the success of the bike
path on Metropolitan Parkway and the anticipation over the upcoming Macomb
Orchard Trail, which will span 24 miles of the county's northern townships.|
The Romeo Observer, Dec. 17, 2003 - Macomb trail closer with new
federal funding. Earlier this month, the
U.S. House of Representatives passed the conference report for the
Transportation and Treasury departments' appropriations, which contains $3.7
million to aid in the construction of the Macomb Orchard Trail. Friends of
the Macomb Orchard Trail Chairman Lee Sorensen said the funding is much
needed. "Projects like the Macomb Orchard Trail are exploding in both growth
and popularity, and citizens and government alike are realizing how valuable
these projects are to our quality of life. This funding will help speed the
Free Press, Oct. 7, 2003 - Trail plans are plowing ahead in Oakland,
Macomb. Car culture may be the driving force of metro Detroit, but efforts to
build trail ways for walkers, joggers, bikers and skaters are reaching new
milestones in Oakland and Macomb counties this week. |
Other articles from the Glacier Club Trail Preview on Monday 10/6/2003:
The Macomb Daily,
Oct. 7, 2003.
Detroit News, Oct. 7, 2003.
The Romeo Observer, Oct. 8, 2003.
The Macomb Daily,
Sept. 25th, 2003
Money for trail - The Macomb Orchard Trail, the 24-mile bike/hike trail
planned for northern Macomb County, has received a $115,000 grant from the
Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan's "Greenways Initiative.". The
foundation grant comes on the heels of approval by the U.S. House of 3.7
million in federal funding. County Commissioner Pete Lund, chairman of the
Macomb Orchard Trail Commission, said the rail could open next spring. Located
on an abandoned railroad track, the trail will eventually extend from Shelby
Township through Romeo, Armada and Richmond.
The Macomb Daily, Sept. 11, 2003 -
Miller secures $3.7 million to complete Orchard Trail.
A 24-mile hike/bike path through some of Macomb
County's most scenic rural areas is destined to become a reality now that the
U.S. House has approved a $3.7 million allocation to help complete the Macomb
Orchard Trail project. U.S. Rep. Candice Miller
succeeded in placing the funds in a transportation spending bill that was
approved by the House Wednesday, and the allocation should have little trouble
winning final approval in the Senate.|
"This is a huge help. This is about as good as it gets," said Lee Sorensen,
chairman of the Friends of the Macomb Orchard Trail, which has lobbied for
the bike path for 4 1/2 years.
same article appeared in
Free Press on Sept. 11, 2003.
Romeo Observer (July 23, 2003) - Trail commission expects to begin work
on trails in fall. The commission recently approved a master plan to develop the abandoned railroad corridor into a recreation trail from Shelby Township to Richmond.
Once the engineering designs are approved by MDOT, the trail commission plans to resurface the trail from Dequindre south of 24 Mile in Shelby Township to the intersection of 29 Mile and Van Dyke in Washington
Township by the end of this year. Communities will have the option later to pave the trail with asphalt.
"They will have to pay for it themselves if they want asphalt," said Washington Township Supervisor Gary Kirsh. "I am looking at ways to pay for paving the Washington Township section. I hope we can pave sometime early next year."|
26, 2003 The Romeo Observer - Kirsh asks communities to ante up on trail.
The central theme of the Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce annual "State of the Community" luncheon is civic cooperation and Washington Township Supervisor Gary Kirsh took a moment to issue a challenge to that effect during his speech.
He challenged community leaders from Romeo and Bruce Township to "remove the blinders" and offer real monetary support of the Macomb Orchard Trail.|
Mar. 7, 2003
The Detroit News - Sterling Heights trail link awaited. City plans to complete recreational path by '04.
Sometime late in 2004, it may be possible for a bicyclist, inline skater, runner or hiker to start at Metro Beach Metropark in Harrison Township and ride, skate, run or walk safely roughly 12 miles to Utica.
That's when Sterling Heights' portion of a proposed trail from Metro Beach to Stony Creek Metropark in Washington Township is expected to be completed.
7, 2003 The Detroit News - Warren maps out two trail routes. One of Metro Detroit's most urban suburbs, with little vacant land to develop, is making plans for two hiking and biking trails.
One trail would follow the so-called Edison Corridor, a right-of-way for utility lines between Hoover and Schoenherr.
The second trail would be built along an east-west route that would follow the Red Run Creek through north
||Feb. 6, 2003
The Detroit Free Press - County seeks funds to finish nature pathway.
State budget shortfall may delay next grant. Development is to begin on the first section of the Macomb Orchard Trail this spring.
But county officials say it's clear the state's budget crisis is going to make it difficult to get the money this year to finish buying the ribbon of land they hope to convert to a trail for hiking, biking and horseback riding.|
8, 2003 The Romeo Observer - Trains no longer rumble through here.
Romeo area residents no longer awaken to the rumble of box cars, the "ding-ding" of crossing signals or the sound of the train whistle.
But they did for over 100 years. Larry Sobczak of the Romeo Observer has put
together an excellent article on the history of the railroad in this area
that is becoming The Macomb Orchard Trail. |
2003 The Romeo Observer: Macomb Orchard Trail expected to open this year.
The first eight miles of the 23.5 mile-long recreational trail from Dequindre in Shelby Township to 29 Mile Road will be surfaced and opened to the public by late spring or early summer.
The Macomb Orchard Trail Commission is paying for the surfacing of the trail with a $1 million grant it received last May from the Michigan Department of Transportation.|
2002 The Detroit News - State may give $1.7 million for biking trail. The money, with two early grants, would assure getting all N. Macomb land needed.
Richmond bicyclist Charles Mabley was ecstatic. "An opportunity like this comes along only once in generations," said Mabley, a member of an advocacy group,
Friends of the Macomb Orchard Trail. |
Romeo Observer Dec. 18, 2002 Macomb Orchard Trail receives another grant
The Macomb Orchard Trail Commission is in line for another $1.7 million grant.
The Michigan Natural Resources Commission recommended awarding the grant on Dec. 11 to purchase the remaining two thirds of the abandoned railroad in northern Macomb County from 29 Mile and Van Dyke through Romeo and Armada and onto Richmond.|
27, 2002 The Romeo Observer - Romeo frowns on funding formula for trail.
The Romeo Village Trustees said that they are having problems with agreeing to join the commission because of the fee structure.|
6th, 2002 The Romeo Observer: Romeo considering joining Orchard Trail Commission.
The council has asked a representative from the Macomb Orchard Trail Commission to give a presentation at the Nov. 18 meeting on the benefits of joining.|
2, 2002 The Oakland Press - An article about Saturday's National Trail
Day event in Rochester.|
30, 2002 The Detroit News - Grant clears
path for Orchard Trail
. The proposed 23.5-mile Orchard Trail is getting a $1 million boost
through a federal grant that will be used to buy land needed for the hiking
and biking path. The amount is the largest of $6 million in
federal money awarded to Metro Detroit communities under the state's
Transportation Enhancement Activity program. The grants were to be announced
today. To read the complete article, click on the link above.|
29, 2002 Detroit Free Press - A very nice article about this Saturday's
National Trail day Event.|
26, 2002 The Detroit Free Press - TRAILS FIGHT SPRAWL: Southeast
Michigan a U.S. leader in pathways. An article on trails in South East
Michigan. Mentions the Macomb Orchard Trail.|
24, 2002 The Romeo Observer: The Macomb Orchard Trail is a lot closer
to reality as supporters celebrated Tuesday at Johnny Appleseed Cider Mill
in Washington Township with a special preview.|
Free Press - Apr. 17, 2001: Metro area blazes a new trail.
Grants help to construct web of urban pathways. Among the grant recipients
was Macomb County, for buying the first stretch of a 24-mile abandoned
railroad line connecting Shelby Township to Richmond.|
10, 2002 The Detroit News - Over the weekend, Friends of the Macomb
Orchard Trail cleaned up a nearly mile-long section of a former railroad
right-of-way in Washington Township. (Unfortunately, this article spends
more time talking about negatives than the great job the volunteers did.)|
27, 2002 The Romeo Observer: Shelby and Washington Township officials
are moving full steam ahead to develop the Macomb Orchard Trail on the old
railroad bed from Dequindre south of 24 Mile to the Romeo village limits.
Macomb County Commissioner Peter Lund, R-Shelby Township, said that the
county has officially paid the TPL for the Washington and Shelby Township
sections and that those townships now have the ability to begin development
work immediately with the signing of the interlocal agreement.|
20, 2002 The Romeo Observer: Armada Twp. might put park next to
rail-trail On Feb. 13, the trustees approved a bid for park property along the abandoned railroad bed and held a public hearing for a trail ordinance which would help law enforcement along the trail.
Lee Sorenson, chairman of the Friends of the Macomb Orchard Trail, was excited about the news of the potential park property along the trail.
"That's beautiful for both us and them," he said. He said that both the township and the trail would benefit from higher scores on park grant applications because of the proximity to one another.|
16, 2001 The Source Newspaper - All aboard? Several Macomb County communities are working out the details of an interlocal agreement that would create a trainload of recreational opportunities for area residents.|
12, 2001 The Romeo Observer: Washington, Bruce like rail-trail idea but not agreement. The Bruce Township Board of Trustees like the idea of converting the abandoned railroad through the township into a recreation trail, it just doesn't like the interlocal agreement that the county is forging to manage the trail.|
12, 2001 The Macomb Daily - Washington Township became one of the first
communities along the proposed 19-mile-long Macomb-Orchard Trail to approve
$30,000 in start-up fees to help bring life to the trail. The
Washington Township Board of Trustees on Dec. 5 unanimously approved the
start-up costs for the trail, which includes $5,000 for future upkeep.|
2001 The Detroit News - Shelby Township officials will apply for grants to
construct a four-mile bike path that could help connect Harrison Township's
Metropolitan Beach to Stony Creek in Washington Township through a regional path
17, 2001 Romeo Observer: The Armada Township Board of Trustees is
drafting a trail ordinance which proponents of the Macomb Orchard Trail say
is so strict it would make their trail project through the township economically
unfeasible. But, Lee Sorenson of the Friends of the Macomb Orchard Trail said
that the commission that is being formed to manage the trail could likely
sidestep the ordinance, if it is ever enacted, by receiving a Michigan Trailway
designation. "It won't be a problem, It's just one more thing to
overcome,"' he said. The designation is given to trails that meet standards
set forth by the state and places regulatory authority over the trail at the
state level instead of local level.|
14, 2001 From the Detroit News: Work to begin on Macomb bike trail.
Signs, preliminary grading and other work is expected to start early next year
on the new Macomb Orchard Trail, a hiking and biking trail that runs from
Dequindre in Shelby Township northeast to Richmond. Most of the work will be
concentrated on the Shelby and Washington townships portion of the trail, where
it will link with an existing trail in Oakland County.|
3, 2001 The Romeo Observer: Local trail stretches miss out on grants; funds needed elsewhere.
The Macomb Orchard Trail, which is the abandoned railroad bed that links Romeo to Richmond and Rochester, was passed over in two separate rounds of grants.|
27, 2001 The Detroit Free Press: Green Connection. Projects pull trails, rivers, people closer together.
In the first round, awarded earlier this month, four-fifths of the money went to assist land purchases, obviously the most expensive part of a trail network. But six grants offer a glimpse of the future: engineering and design work, studies of how to connect trails across obstacles and between communities. |
20, 2001 The Detroit Free Press: Southeast Michigan communities get money for habitats, trails.
The first GreenWays Initiative grants awarded Wednesday will benefit communities across southeast Michigan -- from Ann Arbor and Rochester Hills to Flat Rock, Detroit and Clinton Township.
(Unfortunately, the Macomb Orchard Trail grant was not approved)|
2001 The Detroit News: Trail project back on track. Detroit News article
mentions some negatives (Mostly from Armada residents) and some positives on
the trail. |
1, 2001 The Macomb Daily: Hike-bike trail planning misses some of the details.
With the $3.5 million purchase of the abandoned tracks completed, officials from the county and several north Macomb communities will work out the details.|
26, 2001 The Detroit News: An editorial in the Detroit News on: Should Macomb County convert old railways to trails for biking and hiking?|
18, 2001 The Romeo Observer: Rail-trail purchase hits some bumps.
The Trust for Public Lands (TPL) discovered that Canadian National, which owns the former railroad that ran from Richmond through Armada and Romeo to Pontiac, does not have clear title to two parcels west of Coon Creek Road in Armada Township. The property owners reportedly are Detroit Edison and local developer Joseph and Elly
2001 The Detroit Free Press: Nature trail is nearing reality. Macomb commission OKs purchase of land.
Prospects of turning 24 miles of unused, weed-infested rail property into a scenic trail in northern Macomb County brightened Tuesday when a budget committee voted to purchase the land for $3.5 million.|
7, 2001 The Macomb Daily: County officials have negotiated a $2 million reduction
in the price of an abandoned railroad line in north Macomb that may be converted into a 24-mile hike/bike trail.
With CN setting a June 30, 2001 deadline, the new offer will be discussed by the county Board of Commissioners Tuesday and will face final approval next Thursday.|
23, 2001 The Romeo Observer: Village of Armada says it supports rail-trail
concept; reluctant township names rep.|
8, 2001 The Detroit News: Greenways Grants to Save Open Spaces.|
21, 2001 The Romeo Observer: Orchard Trail supporters eye new source of funding.
A foundation has launched an effort in southeast Michigan with hopes to amass a $25 million grant fund to build trail projects like the proposed Macomb Orchard Trail in northern Macomb County.|
23, 2001 The Detroit News: Oakland County. A plan to convert an abandoned railroad line to a hiking and biking trail has been derailed temporarily by a $3.4-million disparity between the city's appraisal and what the railway claims the land is worth.|
21, 2001 The Detroit Free Press: Oakland County's Parks and Recreation Department, once a non-player in the quest to crisscross the state with hiking trails, now is moving toward buying old rail beds for trails.|
26, 2001 The Detroit Free Press: Rail land will be appraised. Macomb County commissioners deemed a $5.2-million purchase price too high Thursday for
23 miles of vacant rail property intended to be converted into a scenic trail.|
25, 2001 The Detroit Free Press: Land assessed a lesser value. Rochester Hills ready to bargain to purchase its part of nature trail.|
25, 2001 The Macomb Daily: (Note: This article is not
available on-line) Canadian National Railway Co.'s $5.8 million asking price for a section of abandoned railroad in the city is $4 million more than a private appraisal valued it.|
January 13, 2000 The
Detroit Free Press: Fighting the trail: Neighbors say railroad deal in 1860s|
doesn't allow bike path.
2001 The Detroit Free Press: Trail recommendation set to come Jan. 25. A committee studying the feasibility of turning unused railroad property into a trail for hikers, bikers and equestrians will make a recommendation at the next Macomb County Commission meeting.|
22, 2000 The Romeo Observer: Macomb board agrees to study purchase of trail.
The Macomb County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution Thursday to continue efforts in a proposal to convert a 19.5 mile-long abandoned railroad in the northern section of the county into a proposed recreation trailway called the Macomb Orchard Trail.|
15, 2000 The Romeo Observer: Defeated trail gets breath of life from county. The proposed Macomb Orchard Trail backers might be seeing a glimmer of light just a week after the gloom of an election advisory defeat.|
They learned that the Macomb County Board of Commissioners will consider taking over the development reigns of the trail, one week after Armada Township voters narrowly turned thumbs down to participation in the rails-to-trails project.
25, 2000 The Romeo Observer: Proposed rail-trail faces deadline, advisory vote. Under the pressure of a Nov. 30 deadline, promoters of the conversion of the abandoned railroad in northern Macomb County into a recreation trail are waiting for a firm commitment from all of the communities to purchase the right-of-way.|
18, 2000 The Romeo Observer: Romeo Council likes trail but frets residents might pay twice. In discussing whether to join other communities in pledging $27,000 towards purchase of the abandoned Grand Trunk railbed Monday night, several officials expressed concerns that the arrangement would have
Romeo Village residents paying twice for the trail. |
December 17, 1999 The
Detroit Free Press: Sadly, a
small group of home owners may foil
December 8, 1998 The
Detroit Free Press: Trail proposal has opponents.
An aging Oakland County rail line has inspired big dreams and big arguments since Canadian National Rail announced plans this summer to sell the corridor and pull its tracks.|
2000 The Romeo Observer: Industrial property owners along 33 Mile Road may put
up Bruce Township's share of the proposed Rails-to-Trails purchase of the abandoned Canadian National rail bed.|
August 7, 1998 The
Detroit Free Press: With little opposition so far, organization's goal is to link
trails across metro Detroit|
||August 3, 1998
The Detroit Free Press:
People like their bike paths but will they pay?