Your letters, your calls, your many acts of kindness were – and still are - a great source of strength for me in the wake of Karen’s death. I do not know how I could ever thank you enough!
Karen was an amazing person. When describing her, “quiet strength”, “high achiever”, and “one of the good ones” are a few of the words that come to mind. Those of you who knew and were touched by Karen could add to this list.
Our families believe that a “big” person like Karen deserves an equally “big” legacy - and we are convinced that completion of the Border-to-Border Trail (B2B) fits that description. We hope you will help us make this dream come true.
Conceived by the Washtenaw County Parks Department in the late 1990’s, the B2B was to be a 35-mile, non-motorized trail that followed the Huron River from Livingston County on the north to Wayne County on the far southeast. The primary segment of the trail yet to be built is the 8- mile stretch that would connect Bandemer Park on the north side of Ann Arbor with the existing segment of trail at Dexter-Huron Metropark. Additional connectors will also be built to create a contiguous trail.
Much of the planning and progress on this idea was undertaken by the Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative (HWPI), a nonprofit organization formed under the leadership of Jeff Hardcastle with tremendous support from individuals and businesses in the Chelsea community. In the aftermath of Karen’s death, our family decided to join forces with the HWPI to make completion of the expanded B2B Trail her legacy.
When construction is complete, you could bike, or run, or walk, or rollerblade, or photo tour all the way from Ann Arbor to Hudson Mills Metropark, or head West through Dexter & Chelsea into the Waterloo and Pinckney State Recreation areas. Eventually both B2B routes will connect to the Lakeland’s State Trail system and create a 70-mile, multi-use, non-motorized regional pathway system that surely will become the crown jewel of Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail system.
HWPI’s target is to raise $15 million in private money. This money will be multiplied by support from Federal, state and local money. It will put bulldozers to action in the spring action and the entire 70-miles could be completed in the next five years. That will be, we know, a formidable task – but we can all do our part. The McKeachie family will contribute $1,000,000 over the next four years to jump-start this project. This is an opportunity for each of us to “pay things forward”, creating a recreational resource that would contribute immeasurably to the local quality of life.
To make this vision a reality, we are pleased to announce the launch of Karen’s Trail - a dedicated trail segment specifically to commemorate Karen and what she represented to the community. In early 2017 we will launch our official fundraising drive for Karen’s Trail and share complete details with you including plans, groundbreaking events, matching fund opportunities, 5 year pledge options, etc. This initiative will ensure that Karen’s memory is preserved in perpetuity in a manner in which all of us can be proud.
While our official effort will launch in 2017, if you are interested in contributing now to take advantage of 2016 tax deductions, you may donate online or by check, and I encourage you to forward this message to your friends on Facebook, etc. so they may join us in supporting Karen’s Trail.
Please do not hesitate to contact me or the HWPI if you have any questions. Thank you for joining our community of supporters and contributing to Karen’s legacy!