Newaygo Gets The Edge

As residents and visitors alike agree, Newaygo County has an enviable natural resource base that has to be experienced firsthand to be fully appreciated. 2014 brought the introduction of a new Newaygo County asset: The Edge!

Ready to get away for an afternoon, an overnight adventure, or a week of exploration? The Edge (Newaygo County Pathways) is a planned, 80-mile, community built connection between the five major municipalities in Newaygo County. With a connection to other Michigan Trail systems, it is the perfect platform for families and visitors to experience the beauty of our woodlands and waterways.

The first phase of The Edge construction began in the fall of 2013 between two family friendly parks and the two massive regional dams, Croton and Hardy, with a perfect 6.2 mile or 10K stretch.  Unique in its design and grassroots community approach, The Edge will be integrated in coming months and years to join Croton-Hardy with the municipalities of Newaygo, Grant, White Cloud, Bridgeton, Hesperia, and Fremont, which already features the highly acclaimed Town and Country trail. Connectors to the Hart-Montague, White Pine, and northern Kent County trails are also being planned.

The Edge was designed to be a stage for people who want to improve their health – on their own- or through a series of events sponsored by local and national organizations. Community events provide these opportunities such as, the Power Paddle Plus in June and community walk of the Dam-to-Dam segment on the 4th of July weekend, along with several additional opportunities to enjoy The Edge with the community.

Going forward, working with the Newaygo County Historical Society, The Edge will serve as a living classroom, informing trail users of the rich heritage of Newaygo County through a series of permanent historical markers, rest stops along the way, and of course, the close proximity of the mighty Muskegon River. Further development of the Hardy Pond Trail at the northeast end of the Edge, an additional 37-mile-long off-road biking and hiking trail that will circumnavigate the edge of the enormous Hardy Pond reservoir, and serve as a regional magnet for outdoor adventure enthusiasts, weekend explorers, and those looking for a real challenge close to home.

The Edge has been years in the planning process, involving partners ranging from The Newaygo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, The River Country Chamber of Commerce of Newaygo County, The Newaygo Nationals Association, which brings national paddling and other events to the Muskegon River Watershed, the Fremont Area Com-munity Foundation, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, Tamarac, the Center for Health and Wellness, and generous corporate sponsors including Choice One Bank.

2015 was another groundbreaking year for Newaygo County with the first “2DamTuff Challenge” event utilizing the Edge, the two dams, the Muskegon River, an enormous sand dune, area swamplands, and other obstacles designed to challenge the most “hardy” if you will, of competitors.

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