New Era resident and long-time trail advocate, Joel Mikkelsen, testified on behalf of Senate Bill 154, sponsored by Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart. Hansen’s measure would rename the Hart-Montague Trail after the late William Field.
LANSING--The Michigan Senate unanimously approved legislation Wednesday to rename the Hart-Montague Trail after the man who was the driving force behind its creation, the late William Field.
Senate Bill 154 will officially rename the Hart-Montague Trail the William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Trail.
The measure was sponsored by Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee Chairman Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart.
“Bill Field was a tireless advocate and a true champion for his idea of turning the out-of-use Oceana County rail service into a recreational trail for the community,” Hansen said. “Today we all benefit from his labors and generosity as we enjoy this scenic trail.”
While traveling out west decades ago, Field saw an old railroad trail that had been turned into a limestone surface for a bike trail. This was the inspiration for the Hart-Montague Trail, which runs 22 miles from the city of Hart south to the city of Montague.
After rail service in Oceana County ended in 1981, Field purchased on a land contract the property that the old rail service sat on, and he sold off the excess property to surrounding cities. In the end, an estimated $225,000 worth of property was given to the state of Michigan for the rail trail.
The Hart-Montague trail became the first paved rail-trail in Michigan in the spring of 1989.
Field was a lifelong resident of Oceana County and died on Dec. 30, 2005. He was recognized in 1998 by the Detroit News as a “Michiganian of the Year” for his efforts in establishing the Hart-Montague Trail. In 1999, he received the El Award from the White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce for his bike trail work.
SB 154 now heads to the Michigan House for consideration.