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Grant will help build River Walk 12-5-2005

http://www.whitelakebeacon.com/news.php?story_id=8772

The Muskegon Research and Education Society (MRES), through the Muskegon Conservation District, has received a matching funds grant for a river walk from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust for $198,000.

The river walk will be located on the north side of the Muskegon River from the Memorial Causeway, at the point where the Muskegon’s Lakeshore Trail ends, running west along the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve.

The river walk will feature seven fishing spots along the Muskegon River, an educational observation tower at the west end overlooking the river delta, and a connecting trail leading into the Preserve. From there it will cut across the Preserve and out to Lake Ave.

According to Ron Brown, president of MERES, “This grant from the GLFT is an excellent start to our fund raising efforts. We now have a solid base to achieve the $500,000 that is estimated to complete the project.”

According to Brown, the basic framework will be contracted out with the decking being put down by volunteers. It is expected that enough money will be raised so that construction can begin next year.

The river walk will add fishing opportunities to an area that is seeing fishing from the shoreline a dwindling option. It will also offer students an increased chance to observe and study the wetlands, as well as have the opportunity to learn more about one of the largest river deltas in Michigan, with an observation tower at the end of the river walk over looking the delta.

In addition, it will provide hikers and bicyclists the opportunity to travel the Nature Preserve. This is the final piece to the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, which includes an outdoor classroom, a handicapped accessible observation tower, a wetlands boardwalk and water sampling platforms. The Nature Preserve serves over 3,000 kids annually, along with the general public.

A fund raising campaign has started to develop money for the matching part of the grant. The observation tower may be named for a donation of $25,000, a fishing platform for $10,000, a bench for $3,000 and a board in the decking for $25. The Community Foundation for Muskegon County is advising MERES and will be establishing a fund for individual donors.
 
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