Nearly thirty years after construction in 1990, portions of the TART are now in need of significant upgrades and replacement. TART Trails is working on a phased approach to trail repair and replacement. As part of other utility work, in 2018, new 10’ wide trail was constructed between Bunker Hill and Three Mile. Trail assessments and public feedback identified that trail between Hastings and Three Mile is the next priority section for replacement. This 1.7 mile section provides a critical east-west connection along Parsons Rd for both transportation and recreation purposes and links directly to TBA-ISD facilities, Airport Business Park as well as nearby neighborhoods and shopping centers.
TART Trails and our partners are working to provide much needed trail improvements and capitalize on local assets to create a vibrant public space. The project involves replacement of the aging asphalt trail, new trailhead parking, safer road crossings, new landscaping and public art. We are doing more than replacing a trail – we are transforming the corridor into a special, distinct public space that promotes people’s health, happiness and well being while continuing to provide an exceptional experience for trail users today, tomorrow and beyond.
The TART, which spans from Bates Rd in Acme Township to its juncture with the Leelanau Trail on Carter Rd in Leelanau County, represents a major artery in the regional trail network. Following the former rail corridor, the 10.5 mile TART connects trail users to hotels, shops and restaurants as well as recreation areas including Keith J. Charters Traverse City State Park, Reffitt Nature Preserve and several city parks such as Clinch Park. The TART links directly to other trails including the Boardman Lake Loop Trail, Three Mile Trail and Leelanau Trail. It is a key transportation and recreation corridor to downtown Traverse City and hosts over 125,000 visits annually.
History of the TART
In 1987, a driven group of local residents formed Citizens for Better Ways, later known as Friends of the TART, and went to work creating a safe east-west non-motorized transportation and recreation passageway. Motivated by the desire to connect Traverse City to East Bay and Acme Townships, the group formed partnerships with local, county and state government entities to plan, fundraise and construct the trail that continue today and helped grow a 100+ mile regional trail network.