View scalable .pdf map of the Trail in Hamburg Township (8.37 MB).
The Lakelands Trail State Park traverses Hamburg Township in a manner which is mostly parallel to M-36.
The Lakelands Trail State Park in Hamburg Township is maintained and operated by Hamburg Township and the Friends of the Lakelands Trail in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (Click here to view the MI-DNR Lakelands Trail Webpage). No state park permit is required to use the trail.
Lakelands Trail State Park is one of four linear state parks in the Michigan State Park system that have been converted from abandoned railroad corridors. This trail currently is completed between Stockbridge and Pinckney, and has now been completed through Hamburg Township. It passes through wooded areas, rolling farmland, lakes, marshes, parkland, commerical and residential properties. It is approximately 20 miles long with an asphalt or gravel surface. Lakelands is designed for hiking, bicycling, and wheelchair use and horseback riding. Cross-country skiing is popular in winter. Motorized vehicles and hunting are prohibited.
The Hamburg portion of the Trail is suitable for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail, with the exception of motorized government maintenance vehicles. No hunting is permitted.
The Hamburg Township section of the Trail is a trail approximately 6 miles long. Trail improvements were designed and worked on by a partnership of MI-DNR, Hamburg Township and the Friends of the Lakeland Trail.
There are two parking areas for vehicles along the trail area in Hamburg Township that allow for easy access to the trail:
Are ATVs and snowmobiles prohibited? Yes! The Trail is for non-motorized vehicles only, with the exception of motorized wheelchairs.
How will the Trail be maintained? The Township Board has agreed to provide budgeted funds for trash pickup and regular sweeping of the Trail. The volunteer organization Friends of the Lakelands Trail will assist with brush removal, upkeep of the bridges and restroom facilities, and will construct signage.
Will neighbors of the Trail be subjected to bright lights or noise from the Trail? This park is designed for daylight use only. If you live near a trailhead or crossing, be assured that no lights will be provided for parking lots. Restroom facilities will be closed after dark. The M-36 tunnel crossing will, however, have lights that stay on 24 hours per day.
ORGANIZED HIKING/BIKING GROUP TRIPS: If your group is planning to use the trail for a group outing, please contact the Hamburg Township Police Department so that they can assist with safe crossings for your group members where the trail crosses M-36 and other major Township roads.
LAKELANDS TRAIL HISTORY
Hamburg Township’s Lakelands Trail Project was innovative in that
it involved a first-of-its-kind 99-
year recreational land lease agreement between a local unit of government
and the Michigan
Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and utilized a collaborative
planning and development
approach, through which input was sought and participation was provided
from public, private,
commercial, and governmental groups. The project also highlights the
role of proactive planning
for a special community initiative through 1) its unique integration
with Bennett Park, Hamburg
Township’s centrally-located, award winning, recreational park
complex, 2) the creative, adaptive
reuse of an existing underutilized community asset, Lakelands Trail,
a former abandoned railroad
corridor, 3) application of environmentally sensitive planning and construction
elements, and 4) the
use of creative funding. As a result of these planning efforts the project
results that serve as a model for future parks & recreation projects
within Hamburg Township as
well as other communities.
The Lakelands Trail State Park is one of four linear state parks in the Michigan State Park System that have been converted from under the ownership of the DNR. The 6.5-mile Hamburg Township section of the Trail was a former abandoned railroad route that was redeveloped into a 16-foot wide, non-motorized pathway, with a 10-foot wide section paved for walking, bicycling, rollerblading, running, and cross-country skiing, and a 6-foot wide turf lane for equestrians. The improved trail spans the entire length of the Township and provides direct intermodal linkages with numerous public and private developments throughout the community including Bennett Park.
Key natural features of the Lakelands Trail include gently rolling forest, open field prairie, wetlands and a crossing of the Huron River, a designated "country-scenic" river under the Michigan Natural River Act of 1970. The project area also contains habitat and wildlife that is known or suspected to be on the Michigan State Threatened or Endangered Species List (i.e., Blandings Turtles, Spotted Turtles and Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake). Planning and design modifications were made to facilitate safe access by the public, while protecting this important habitat. The Lakelands Trail Project is a culmination of public and private efforts to preserve, restore, and enhance recreational use and public health for the citizens of the community. In 2005, the Hamburg Township Parks & Recreation Board began to update their existing Parks & Recreation Plan to address future improvements of the Lakelands Trail Project and Bennett Park, which serves as the community's primary public recreational facility and is home to the Township municipal complex.
Hamburg Township’s planning and oversight efforts for the Lakelands Trail Project included planning, negotiation, public participation, and the hard work and support of local community youth groups, veterans, the school district, regional planning groups, seniors, area businesses, county officials, local leaders and the State of Michigan.
The planning and development process for the project was comprehensive
and utilized a
collaborative approach involving public participation from many
groups and individuals. During the
planning stages of the project, the Parks & Recreation Board
held several meeting to discuss short
and long term needs, held public hearings, and received and incorporated
comments and input
from numerous private and public groups, businesses and government
entities, including the
Livingston County Area Junior Football League, Hamburg Community
Soccer Club, Hamburg
Flyers Club, Boy Scout Troop 395, Pinckney School District, Friends
of Lakelands Trail, Township
Board, Planning Commission, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
(SEMCOG), and the
public at large, among others. This approach allowed needs of the
community to be prioritized,
ensured fair treatment of stakeholders, raised public awareness
and support, and provided a safer
and healthier environment, minimizing conflicts between pedestrians/equestrians
In conjunction with these planning efforts, Hamburg Township was able to leverage $1.6 million in creative grant funding opportunities. Specifically, the Township was awarded a $1.23 million federal transportation enhancement grant, a $150,000 DNR grant and an $111,000 Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan grant. With the assistance of the these grant awards and generous public and private monetary and time contributions, Hamburg Township was able to tunnel under and reroute a portion of M-36, construct two trailheads with paved off street parking, provide storm water detention, and install two watering stations for horses. The improved trail spans the entire length of the Township and provides several direct non-motorized linkages throughout the community including Bennett Park, the boardwalk at Chilson Commons Shopping Center and numerous public and private developments along its length.
According to the Livingston County Census Chronicle, the population within Hamburg Township has sustained the most growth in the county increasing 5,796 from 1990 to 1999 and is the largest county township with a population of 18,879. Additionally, according to SEMCOG the projected population increase from 2000 to 2020 is 57.8 percent. With increasing population trends comes an increasing need for well-planned infrastructure and services for residents. The Lakelands Trail improvements and integration with Bennett Park provide needed recreation and facilities for community groups, businesses, and private individuals for current and future populations.
The project was completed within budget, on schedule and in accordance with the Township’s adopted Parks & Recreation Plan. This project served to unite the members of the Hamburg community, and provided opportunities for team building between state, county, local, and professional individuals. In addition to the project being a success, the project also serves as a model for Hamburg Township as well as other communities for future parks & recreation planning and development projects. For these reasons Hamburg Township’s Lakelands Trail Project shows a commitment to excellence in community planning and implementation as a special community initiative.
-Last Updated December 4, 2012
10405 Merrill Road
P.O. Box 157
Hamburg, MI 48139-0157 USA
Hours: Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.