Polly Ann Trail to celebrate 25th anniversary

Polly Ann Trail to celebrate 25th anniversary

Polly Ann Trail Manager Linda Moran is busy getting the trail system ready for the 25th anniversary celebration on Aug. 27. Photo by D. Rush

 

Cake Walk planned for Aug. 27
By Don Rush

It’s taken years of sweat equity, volunteer work, grant writing and management and now the Polly Ann Trail is gearing up for a celebration. On Aug. 27 the Polly Ann Trailway Management Council will celebrate the trail’s 25th anniversary with a Cake Walk.

“We will have tents, old photos, history displays and free cake for the community,” trail manager Linda Moran said, adding, “We are also teaming up with the Oxford Women’s Club with this celebration because they are celebrating their 90th anniversary.”

The free event starts at 9 a.m. on the trail’s “weigh station” at 33 Powell Street in the Village of Oxford.
After ceremonies those who wish can walk the trail over M-24 on the Larry Obrecht Bridge, through Oxford and into Orion Township – about a six mile walk, Moran said.

The Polly Ann Trail is a non motorized trail which connects with the Paint Creek Trailway in Orion Township, runs through Orion, Oxford and Addison townships. After the Village of Leonard, it connects with the Lapeer County Polly Ann Trailway. Through Oakland County the trail is just under 17 miles.

When we met up with Moran, last Wednesday morning it was close to 90 degrees and muggy. She had just come off the trail where she was clearing brush and cutting branches. She said during the warm months she puts in about 65 hours a week maintaining the Oakland trail system – mowing, weed whipping, watering plants and trees, clearing brush, picking up trash and cleaning out the toilets. She has about 10 volunteers to help her.

She said the trail system, which is open year-round, has about 150,000 to 200,000 users a year. “We have cameras at the parking areas and in just one week,” she said, “we’ll see between 900 and a thousand cars parked just in Leonard alone.”

The trail system runs on the path of the old Polly Ann railway. The railway line got its nickname from the initials of its real name, Pontiac, Oxford and Northern railway which ran in the late 1800s to the early 1900s. This was abbreviated as the P.O. & N. The line was taken over by Grand Trunk Western in 1909.

According to the Polly Ann Trailways website, “The last train to service the full length of the line was on February 9, 1984. Grand Trunk Western Railroad agreed to sell the railroad corridor to the State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources. A federal grant was awarded in 1993 and was matched by the DNR that same year providing more than $728,000 to purchase the corridor from Grand Trunk.”

By 1997, the Polly Ann Trailway Management Council was in place and with the help of volunteers started clearing brush from the pathway for use.

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