The highly anticipated redevelopment of Shelden Trails at Stony Creek Metropark began back in 2016 with input and recommendations from partners and regular users during the master planning process. In 2018, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks started the multi-year redevelopment project with a goal to extend and develop the Shelden Trails into a premier multi-use, natural surface trail system in southeast Michigan.
“The project was originally envisioned as being volunteer led, but the more we got into the project and the more we understood the great need for the project in the region, the Metroparks understood we needed to step up and provide additional resources and expertise to develop it into the world class trail system it is today” according to Metroparks Director, Amy McMillan.
The Shelden Trails were not originally designed as a multi-use trail system. A large portion of the trails travel through the historic Shelden estate, and developed mainly from old roads, footpaths, and trails. The roads and footpaths ran among the estate’s nine buildings (no longer in existence). Shelden estate was gifted to Stony Creek Metropark by Elizabeth Shelden in 1981 for public recreation. Today they are best known for their mountain biking experience but are used year-round as hiking and skiing trails as well.
Through the project, the Metroparks have been working closely with an advisory group of trail users, partners and long-time mountain biking partner organization, Clinton River Area Mountain Bike Association (CRAMBA), to provide input on the wants and needs of regular users of the trails. The outcome has been a collaborative development process that has highlighted problem areas of the previous trails and the development of a truly premier trail experience today.
In June 2020 the first phase of construction began. The project included redeveloping existing trails to improve user experience, accessibility, trail surface condition and signage and included also creating new trail segments, a beginner loop (Grom trail), a handcycle accessible trail and new mountain bike obstacles.
“The Metroparks is looking for opportunities throughout all of our parks to provide better user experience and accessibility to all of our really great facilities, and here at Shelden Trails is no different” says Amy McMillan.
So much could be written about this project, but it’s even better to hear about it from the mouths of excited project partners in this video about the project. Take a look for yourself!
This project is complete just in time for a busy summer of use. The Shelden Trails Redevelopment Project cost just over $812,000. It was supported by Metroparks budget dollars and a long list of generous partners and donors that are highlighted towards the end of the video.
Visitors can learn even more at https://www.metroparks.com/sheldentrails/