West Michigan has an incredible non-motorized trail network, in no small part due to the dedication and support of Fred Meijer. In honor of that, we celebrate other local trail heroes with the Fred Meijer Trail Champion Awards each year.
Trail Volunteer: Sue Hodapp
Kalamazoo resident Sue Hodapp is a Master Gardener from the MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program. For many years she has led a group maintaining native plants between F and G Avenues in Kalamazoo County. This is a wonderfully scenic section of trail featuring the ascent of the Kalamazoo Moraine and mature woodlands. Her activities have included eradication of invasive plants, encouragement of Michigan wildflowers, placing informational signage, and careful trimming to maintain the trail.
Friends on her email list will know about her organized and detailed emails for work projects on the Kal-Haven Trail. This year Sue has led a small group placing a planter of blight resistant mint beside the trail in Mentha, once the site of the AM Todd mint farm. An informational placard on the planter encourages passing trail users to maintain the mint, which you can find a short walk east of 23rd Street north of 18th Avenue in Van Buren County.
Trail Professional: Scott Post
Scott Post is an award winning civil engineer working for Prein & Newhof and has devoted his career to designing, engineering, and overseeing construction of non-motorized trails. Scott has seen a lot in more than 20 years of this work and is respected for that work around the state. It is not uncommon to find that Scott is involved in any given trail project.
He has extensive experience with easement acquisition, state, local, and federal trail grants, such as MDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), Transportation Enhancement Program, the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program, and the MDNR’s Natural Resources Trust Fund. He is a member of the ASCE Western Michigan Branch and Rails to Trails Conservancy, and most importantly, Vice President of West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition!
Trail Maintenance: David Heyboer and Friends of the White Pine Trail
David Heyboer has been involved with the trail systems in West Michigan for more than 20 years and shows passion to expand and maintain the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park for current and future users. He and his Friends of the White Pine Trail team work year round to snow plow, mow grass, trim and remove trees, sweep, place benches, install picnic tables, and seal cracks in the asphalt. Many would consider this West Michigan’s anchor trail, and David and his team keep it in top shape for the countless users on this incredibly popular trail.
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