Finding the Northwest Passage Trail in Dexter Township

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Dexter Township wants to help move forward the pathway plan proposed to connect Hudson Mills to Stinchfield Woods Road with the hope that it will eventually go through the Pinckney area and connect to Hell.

This would be an extension of the Border to Border Trail (B2B Trail).

However, before that can even begin to happen some details need to be determined, including the exact route.

To help with this, the Dexter Township Board unanimously voted at its Nov. 16 meeting, to devote some budgeted funds, not to exceed $15,000, to engage a consultant to determine the Northwest Passage Project #1 Trail route connecting Hudson Mills/Dexter Township Town Hall to Stinchfield Woods Road.

In its approval resolution, the township states its committed to being inclusive in local projects that benefit their residents and offering recreational activities with rural character.

Township board trustee Karen Sikkenga is representing the township in this project and she spoke about it at the meeting on the 16th.

Sikkenga said in her report to the board that the Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative (HWPI is a nonprofit dedicated to completing the B2B Trail) is partnering with Dexter Township, WCPARC (Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission), Pinckney State Recreation Area and others to spearhead the overall project. She said funds for the study would be disbursed to HWPI.

Her report said the NW Passage Trail will be a 10-mile length of trail connecting the B2B Trail at Hudson Mills to Hell, by way of Stinchfield Woods and Pinckney State Recreation Area. The two-mile section of trail connecting Hudson Mills to Stinchfield Woods Road requires a consultant to determine the specific route and prepare materials to be used as exhibits in grant requests.

The consultant would be engaged immediately and would likely complete the study by March 31, 2022.

Sikkenga said the plan is to pay for the study in thirds with the township, HWPI and WCPARC all contributing.

In looking ahead to how the proposed pathway’s construction would be paid for, Sikkenga said fundraising, grants and other contributions would all play a big part, which could include some local match funding help from Dexter Township.

The consultant’s study is an important first step in helping to fundraise for the project. The study would help provide exhibit materials for fundraising, according to Sikkenga.

The consultant would look into such things as the four different route options to get from Hudson Mills to the other side of North Territorial Road. They would also assess whether or not there needs to be a crossing at Dexter-Pinckney Road and if so, where, and also what materials to use for the trail, such as pavement or maybe gravel.

The consultant’s contract will be brought to the township board for final approval.

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