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Pure Michigan BywaysRecreational Heritage Route Marker

Recreational Byways & Heritage Routes

Below are listings and details for each of the current Recreational Byways & Heritage Routes around the state, including the limits of the Route, its length, notes and related links.

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M-1 Route MarkerI-75BL Route MarkerBUS US-24 Route MarkerAmerica's Byways Route MarkerWoodward Avenue Heritage Route logo

Woodward Avenue
Recreational Heritage Route

Southern End:   I-75/Fisher Frwy in downtown Detroit
Northern End:   Downtown Pontiac
Length: 28 miles
Notes: From MDOT: "Woodward Avenue (M-1), southeast Michigan's Main Street is home to many of Michigan's historic, recreational and cultural jewels. This 28 miles of asphalt ribbon is rich in 200 years of urban history, bright with city lights and shaded in suburban green. That ribbon entwines Detroit's theater, art, education and medical centers with neighborhoods both grand and faded. It ties together stable suburban middle class residential streets and wealthy enclaves and links strips of independent retail shops with landscaped professional office centers, bustling small downtown districts and industrial giants."
  Also from MDOT: "Detroit’s Main Drag, Woodward Avenue is home to many of Southeast Michigan’s historic, recreational and cultural gems. From its riverfront origin, the 28-mile ribbon travels northwest through the heart of downtown, past Midtown’s museums and the Detroit Zoo, on to the Cranbrook Education Community in Bloomfield Hills, then ends at the city of Pontiac. The route is rich in urban history, bright with city lights and shaded in suburban green. You’ll find plenty to see and do, as nearly every mile includes historical sites that have shaped the life of a region, state and nation."
  The Woodward Ave Recreational Heritage Route is actually longer than M-1. Technically, the designated Heritage Route extends northerly from M-1's northern terminus at Bloomfield Hills into downtown Pontiac via BL I-75/BUS US-24. However, since the vast majority of the route encompasses M-1, that designation is used here as the primary highway route.
  On October 16, 2009, the Woodward Avenue (M-1) Automotive Heritage Trail was additionally designated as an "All-American Road," part of the America's Byways program.
Weblinks: New! Woodward Avenue: Visit Our Byway - from the Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3).
  New! Woodward Avenue Corridor Management Plan – Update - adopted in 2006.
  New! Woodward Avenue (M-1) - Automotive Heritage Trail, All-American Road, Michigan - from the FHWA's America's Byways website.
  New! Woodward Avenue The Original Urban Byway - from American Road magazine.
  New! Woodward By Any Other Name... - from the Pure Detroit website.
  M-1 Route Listing
  BUS US-24 (Pontiac) Route Listing
  BL I-75 (Pontiac) Route Listing
M-15 Route MarkerM-15 Recreational Heritage Route logo

Pathway to Family Fun
Recreational Heritage Route

Southern End: Clarkston in northern Oakland Co
Northern End: Northern terminus of M-15 east of downtown Bay City
Length: 85 miles
Notes: From MDOT: "From Clarkston to Bay City, Michigan’s very first Recreational Heritage Route parallels I-75, offering motorists pleasant surprises and a welcomed diversion from fast paced freeway travel. Clarkston kicks things off at the south end with its summer festivals, parades and outdoor concerts. There’s plenty of camping, fishing and hiking to do along the 85-mile route. Just a few miles from Millington is the Murphy Lake State Game area, a great source of hunting land, trails, lakes and streams. The route concludes just east of downtown Bay City, where marinas, museums, galleries, a lighthouse and a magnificently restored city hall await travelers."
  The name of this route has evolved into the Pathway to Family Fun Recreational Heritage Route.
Weblinks: M-15 Pure Michigan Byway – from East Michigan Council of Governments
  M-15 Route Listing
  M-15 Recreational Heritage Route - Facebook Page; may be unmaintained.
US-23 Route MarkerCopper Country Trail Scenic Heritage Route logo

Huron Shores
Recreational Heritage Route

Southern End: Standish
Northern End: Mackinaw City
Length: 193 miles
Notes: On May 6, 2004, US-23 from Standish to Mackinaw City was officially designated as a Recreational Heritage Route and given the moniker Sunrise Side Coastal Highway. That moniker, however, has now evolved into the current name Huron Shores Recreational Heritage Route.
  From MDOT: "Initiated by Rep. Sheltrown and Tom Ferguson of Michigan's Sunrise Side Travel Association in the summer of 2001, the process began with the collection of resolutions of support from local units of government along the route. Northeast Michigan Council of Governments and East Michigan Planning & Development were contracted to develop a management plan for the route with the guidance and advice of local volunteers."
  Also from MDOT: "From Mackinaw City to Standish, this 200-mile Heritage Route takes travelers by spectacular scenic views of Lake Huron, and an impressive array of large public forest, park and recreational properties. The coastal counties of Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Cheboygan, Iosco and Presque Isle contain some of the most extensive and significant recreational, ecological, historical and cultural sites in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. And, unlike other parts of the state where Great Lakes shores are privately owned, extensive tracts of publicly owned land make much of the Lake Huron shoreline along the coastal highway free and accessible to residents and visitors alike."
Weblinks: US-23 Sunrise Coastal Highway website from a local citizens group.
  Discover Heritage Route US-23 - from NEMCOG.
  US 23 Heritage Route Management Plan from NEMCOG.
  US-23 Sunrise Side Coastal Highway Management Plan 2003 - from NEMCOG.
  US-23 Route Listing
US-41 Route MarkerM-35 Route MarkerUS-2 Route MarkerU.P. Hidden Coast Heritage Route logo

U.P. Hidden Coast
Recreational Heritage Route

Southern End: Updated Menominee at the Michigan/Wisconsin state line along US-41 on the Interstate Bridge
Northern End: Updated Gladstone north city limit on US-2/US-41/M-35 at Mather Ave
Length: Updated 64.4 miles
Notes: Updated The U.P. Hidden Coast Recreational Heritage Route begins at the Michigan/Wisconsin state line at Menominee and continues northerly via US-41 through Menominee to M-35 on the north edge of the city. There, the byway runs northerly along M-35 from Menominee all the way to Escanaba. From there, the byway continues northerly along US-2/US-41/M-35 into Glasdstone and yet northerly still via US-2/US-41 to the northern city limit of Gladstone at Mather Ave.
  On August 26, 2007, MDOT designated 64 miles of M-35 between Gladstone and Menominee as the U.P. Hidden Coast Recreation Heritage Route to promote tourism and economic development in the area.
  From CUPPAD: "The U.P. Hidden Coast Recreation Route runs from Menominee, the gateway to the Upper Peninsula, through to the northern city limits of Gladstone; 64 miles along the western shoreline of Lake Michigan in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As it navigates between water and wilderness, natural vegetation obscures the view of Lake Michigan's bays. The best way to view the Lake is to exit the highway and pull into one of the several (over 25 public owned) recreational areas along the U.P. Hidden Coast."
  From MDOT: "The excitement and intrigue of exploring 64 miles of state highway between Gladstone and Menominee await adventuresome travelers along the U.P. Hidden Coast Recreation Heritage Route. Natural vegetation may obscure the view of Lake Michigan’s bays throughout much of the coastal route, but there’s no secret to all there is to see and do. You’ll find something for everyone: parks, waterways, forests, trails, attractions, boat launches, harbors, historical sites and campgrounds. And the friendly people of Delta and Menominee counties are certain to make you feel at home as they roll out the welcome mat and share their U.P. heritage."
Weblinks: U.P. Hidden Coast Recreational Heritage Route - the primary tourism and infrormational website for the Route from CUPPAD.
  CUPPAD: Heritage Route Planning - the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission's comprehensive page regarding its U.P. Hidden Coast Recreational Heritage Route planning efforts.
  M-35 named U.P. Hidden Coast Recreation Heritage Route - MDOT Press release.
  US-41 Route Listing
  M-35 Route Listing
  US-2 Route Listing
I-69 Route MarkerI-69 Recreational Heritage Route logo

I-69 Recreational
Heritage Route

Southern End: Southern entrance of I-69 at the Indiana state line near Kinderhook
Northern End: Calhoun/Eaton Co line southwest of Olivet
Length: 47 miles
Notes: On October 8, 2004, I-69 in Branch and Calhoun Co was officially designated as a Recreational Heritage Route in a ceremony held at the newly-reconstructed Coldwater Welcome Center south of Coldwater.
  From MDOT: "Stretching along more than 80 miles [sic.] of Interstate 69, from the Indiana border north through Branch and Calhoun counties, the I-69 Recreational Heritage Route links several Michigan communities, including Coldwater and historic Marshall. United by their common recreational amenities, each community offers its own particular brand of fun. You’ll discover areas with miles of trails and land for hiking, skiing, and snowmobiling, as well as inland lakes that sport some of the best fishing in Michigan. The I-69 Recreational Heritage Route is a historically significant region where visitors can enjoy fresh foods, the largest collection of restored homes in the Midwest, and colorful stories about people who shaped the land."
  Regarding the dedication ceremony, Calhoun Co Community Development notes: "The ceremony included the history of the formation of the I-69 Recreation Heritage Route Management Team, as well as information about the program, its partnership with MDOT, some of its planned projects and the unveiling of the new sign designating the area a Recreation Heritage Route. During his speech, Mike Boyce, Convis Township Supervisor and manager of the Baker Bird Sanctuary, spoke about a future project of the I-69 RHR Management Team and its intention of placing Kestrel nesting boxes within the I-69 corridor right-of-way to encourage the increase of nesting opportunities and habitat of Kestrels."
  Pure Michigan BywaysNew! In 2017, the Recreational Heritage Route signs along the I-69 Recreational Heritage Route were replaced with the new Pure Michigan Byways markers, although the official name of the route still seems to be the "I-69 Recreational Heritage Route." (The route's website has not been updated since 2011, so it is difficult to know how active the support is for this particular route.)
Weblinks: I-69 Recreation Heritage Route - website as managed by the Southwestern Michigan Planning Commission.
  I-69 Scenic Corridor Management Study - information sheet from MDOT.
  I-69 Route Listing
M-134 Route Marker

North Huron Byway

Western End: I-75 at Exit 359, fourteen miles north of St Ignace
Eastern End: On Drummond Island at "Four Corners," south of the community of Drummond
Length: 50 miles (including Drummond Island Ferry)
Notes: Updated The North Huron Byway was the first route to be designated under the revamped and redesignated Pure Michigan Byways program. It had been under study since 2006 and a Corridor Management Plan was created in 2010 by the Eastern U.P. Regional Planning & Development Commission using the designation "M-134 North Huron Recreational Heritage Route." However, when the process finally proceeded to the implementation phase, it was officially unveiled on October 16, 2015 as the "North Huron Byway." The official announcement of the M-134 Byway designation occurred at the Clark Township Community Center in Cedarville.
  New! While under development as a Heritage Route, the North Huron Byway was slotted under the Historic Heritage Route category. While not explicity stated, it is assumed this byway will continue to be categorized as a "recreational" Byway under the new program.
  The following detailed history of the M-134 Heritage Route proposal was excerpted from the EUPRPDC Executive Summary on the route: "During 2006 a group of stakeholders from Clark Township gathered to discuss the potential for developing a non-motorized pathway between Cedarville and Hessel. From these discussions grew a much larger and collaborative effort, now known as the North Huron Scenic Pathway. The proposed pathway would run from downtown St. Ignace to Drummond Island, spanning over 70 miles. The Pathway committee composed of volunteers and local government officials began meeting monthly to discuss strategies for developing this pathway and by the spring of 2007 had identified the completion of a Preliminary Engineering Study as the first step towards pathway development. This study was completed in May of 2008 and provides the Committee with preferred and alternate route locations as well as detailed engineering specifications, including cost estimates for segments of the pathway. Throughout the process of developing this Study, the Committee also began to fully realize the numerous recreational opportunities along M-134, a segment of State highway which had long been locally contemplated as a Heritage Route. Once the Preliminary Engineering Study was completed, many of these same stakeholders reconvened to begin the pursuit of Recreational Heritage Route Designation for M-134 from its starting point at Interstate 75 to the Townline Road and M-134 (Four Corners) on Drummond Island."
  On September 13, 2010, the Chipprewa County Board of Commissioners officially adopted a resolution in support of the proposed M-134 Recreational Heritage Route and encouraged MDOT to move forward with its designation.
Weblinks: M-134 Byway – an informational page from the Eastern U.P. Regional Planning & Development Commission on the proposed Heritage Route.
  North Huron Recreational Heritage Route Corridor Management Plan – from the Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning & Development Commission.
  Plan Would Make M-134 a Heritage Route – an October 23, 2008 article in The St. Ignace News.
  New! M-134 becoming first new Pure Michigan Byway – the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) invites the public to the announcement of M-134's designation as a Pure Michigan Byway.
  M-134 Route Listing
M-179 Route Marker

Chief Noonday
Recreational Heritage Route

Western End: Western terminus of M-179 at US-131 near Bradley south of Wayland
Eastern End: Eastern terminus of M-179 at jct M-43 west of Hastings
Length: 17 miles
Notes: From MDOT: "The natural beauty of the Chief Noonday Trail (M-179), coupled with its many recreational and historic sites, make this an outstanding Heritage Route. This area was once the hunting ground for native woodland Indians. It continues to heavily wooded and inhabited by a wide variety of wildlife. A large portion of the road is bordered by state owned land. This is the gateway to the Yankee Springs Recreational area and the Barry State Game Area. The combination of state and local facilities provide the visitor a wide variety of recreational and historic opportunities. Activities available include camping, hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, biking, horseback riding, water an cross country skiing, berry and mushroom picking, photography and visits to historical sites and museums."
  The M-179 Recreational Heritage Route is also known as the Chief Noonday Recreational Heritage Route.
  This route is named after Chief Noonday, an Iroquois hero of the War of 1812. Legend has it that it was Chief Noonday who carried the body of Tecumseh, Pawnee leader of the Indian warriors, from his final battlefield. Chief Noonday was also instrumental in the negotiations that opened much of Michigan to settlement. Living out his last years in the Yankee Springs area at Slater's Mission, his grave lies near Prairieville. The local chapter of the North Country Trail is also named after Chief Noonday.
Weblinks: M-179 Route Listing


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