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Schmidt ‘Grand Traverse Commons’ legislation signed into law

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Wayne Schmidt that would expand the list of permitted activities allowed on the Grand Traverse Commons property was signed into law late last week.

“The intent of this legislation is to improve local control of the property and more closely adhere to the locally developed Commons Master Plan,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “My legislation would allow for more cohesive land management and in turn better serve those who use the property. Senate Bill 595 passed the Senate unanimously in February and I am happy to see it finally signed into law.”

Currently, the only activities permitted at Grand Traverse Commons are hiking and cross-country skiing. SB 595, now Public Act 159 of 2020, would eliminate the outdated deed restriction for the Grand Traverse Commons area and expand the list of permitted activities allowed on the property to include all nonmotorized activities, as long as they are not damaging the property.

The only way this was able to be achieved was by retransferring the parcel to Garfield Charter Township with a more lenient deed restriction.

Schmidt worked with a number of constituents and local officials as the bill moved through the legislative process.

“This is a wonderful example of community collaboration at its finest,” said Brian Beauchamp, communications and policy director for Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails. “A heartfelt thank you to Sen. Schmidt and his colleagues in Lansing for this bipartisan show of support for trails in our area and to Garfield Township Supervisor Chuck Korn and the leadership in Garfield Township for providing this opportunity for more, and better, nonmotorized recreation for all user types at the Grand Traverse Commons.”

Garfield Township Supervisor Chuck Korn agreed this legislation will present more opportunities for those in the community to enjoy Northern Michigan’s natural resources.

“By removing this hurdle, Garfield Township is looking forward to engaging the community for the future design and use of this wonderful parkland,” Korn said.

The legislation took effect immediately upon receiving a signature from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.


Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by visiting and clicking “Photos” under the “In the News” tab.

Photo caption: Traverse City resident Owen Schneider enjoys riding his bike on the trails at Grand Traverse Commons. The photo was taken by his father Gabe — who says the two of them often enjoy time together at Grand Traverse Commons and they look forward to the future of the property.