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Jackson is one of 16 communities to receive a portion of roughly $250,000 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to connect a 1,300-mile-long hiking trail in the state.

Jackson’s portion of the Iron Belle Trail will run through the city’s downtown area and connect existing trails which run from the Detroit area in the state’s Lower Peninsula to the Ottawa National Forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“Jackson rests in an area of the state where we find ourselves eligible for grant money to connect hiking and biking trails,” said Kelli Hoover, city parks and recreation director. “Our community is doing a great job of staying on top of available funds to expand the state’s trail system.”

Jackson received $15,000 from the DNR to conduct a route planning study through downtown Jackson that considers safety, cost and easement availability, state officials said.

When the state’s Iron Belle Trail is complete, it will link up to something much larger. The hiking trail will become part of the North Country Trail, a national scenic route that spans seven states – from North Dakota to New York.

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