Rep. Walberg visits Buchanan’s McCoy Creek Trail

Published 10:46 am Monday, May 15, 2023

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BUCHANAN — U.S Congressman Walberg, serving Michigan’s 5th congressional district, gathered with local organizations and trail advocates May 4th to learn about trail systems at the McCoy’s Creek trailhead in Buchanan. 

During the trail visit, the group discussed how trails positively impact individuals and improve communities by providing not only recreation and transportation opportunities, but also by influencing economic and community development.

“We are proud to see the trail system work from organizations and trail groups recognized as a community priority,” said Dawn Marie Smith, Director of Be Healthy Berrien. The countywide partnership is working to reduce the prevalence of obesity through improving access to recreational opportunities for people of all abilities.

“Accessible non-motorized transportation options such as trails are essential in ensuring the continued growth of our communities. Trails can spur economic growth, increase connectedness, facilitate recreation, and improve quality of life. These long-term, forward-thinking projects are producing a lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of our communities,” said Smith.

Rep. Walberg’s office has requested the House Appropriations Committee funding for multiple projects in Berrien and Cass counties, one of the six community projects submitted was the $2.1 million Niles-Buchanan Trail Connection project. The project would extend the existing trail system at McCoy’s Creek Trail, E.B. Clark Woods in Buchanan to Winn Road to the existing trail system in Niles and would provide important connectivity to two existing trail segments, adding a safe way for bicycles and pedestrians.

According to Mark Weber, CEO of YMCA of Greater Michiana and Be Healthy Berrien steering committee member, “Connecting the cities of Niles and Buchanan make this trail project a strong community priority and make it possible for more residents to enjoy nature and lead a healthy lifestyle.”  

Trails are especially important for physical and mental health; recreational environments support active lifestyles and improve access to exercise. Recent research has shown immersion in natural landscapes can help reduce stress and have a restorative effect on mental and social health.