Saturday, July 18, 2015

Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail - A Rail Trail in Progress

Bay County to Saginaw County Connection

Bridge over a Saginaw River tributary near Stony Island.

The Bay County to Saginaw County Connection, part of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail, starts from Bay City's west side along the Saginaw River toward Zilwaukee, or Saginaw County. The trail begins as an overgrown two track path instead of the expected abandoned railroad bed with an occasional railroad tie poking up through the dirt. Bushwhacking through the thick weeds, branches and mosquitos finally takes you to a river crossing over a refurbished trestle. After the trestle, the trail continues over freshly laid gravel and on to a second river crossing near Stony Island where the historic Skull Island Massacre took place just to the north.

The beginning. A rail trail?

The connection transforms through various stages.

Or a path?

Two track. And plenty of Stealth Camping opportunities...

Freshly laid and rolled stone. Progress.

Turns back to two track.

Wildlife abounds.

Approximately halfway through the connection the trail peters out. From here the trail is incomplete and I followed the alternate route - if the proposed rail trail along the river is not secured. Hopefully the alternate route won't be used since it is simply a utility road through a wildlife refuge. While riding on this straight two track I came upon two hunters who were sighting in a rifle along the path and I feared getting a stray bullet in the head...

Alternate route through Crow Island State Game Area.

The alternate route isn't very scenic - hopefully the connection will follow the rail line along the river. 

The connection ends near the Zilwaukee Bridge seen in the far distance.

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