Bird trails added to the Blue Water Area list

St. Clair Metropolitan Planning Commission strengthens visitor attraction by adding bird trails to their already comprehensive list of water trails.

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St. Clair County Metropolitan Planning Commission has constructed a birding trail titled, Blue Water Bird Trail. As part of the Blueways of St. Clair, the bird trail, developed by St. Clair planner, Lori Eschenburg, highlights the locations and opportunity for visitors who are interested in seeing a variety of birds.

Birders will travel to great lengths to check rare birds off their list. Just this past December, Times Herald of Port Huron  noted that birders from as far as Minnesota traveled to St. Clair County to see a mountain bluebird that was reported on the Blueways website. Birders traveling great distances are bound to stay locally, which is great for the tourism economy of St. Clair County.

The Blue Water Bird Trail consists of 12 locations across St. Clair County. Some of those locations are state parks, such as Lakeport and Algonac. Other locations include Port Huron State Game Area, Fort Gratiot Nature Trail, Columbus and Lighthouse Park, and even LakesidePark/Cemetery. Each location has a website where visitors can view the landscape and topography they intend to visit. Each location also has a link to an updated bird list that provides birders with a comprehensive, alphabetical list of birds known to be present at that location to help visitors plan their trip according to the birds they are trying to see.

Additional birding opportunities exist along Lake Huron’s coast north of the Thumb region in places like Saginaw Bay and East Tawas.

The Blueways of St. Clair also includes several water trails for outdoor enthusiasts. A number of which intersect with Michigan’s first National Water Trail, the “Island Loop”. Resources are available to help plan your trip to the area by visiting “Plan Your Trip”. When visiting the area be sure to check other resources for events happening by visiting Blue Water Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Tourism is a significant industry for Michigan, one that contributes considerably to the economy and supports a large number of jobs. In fact, approximately 214,000 people are employed in Michigan’s tourism industry. In 2014, Michigan generated about $2.4 billion in taxes from tourism. Globally, tourism continues to grow without interruptions.

Michigan State University Extension works with local communities throughout the state to identify strengths and assets to leverage for tourism. Specific programs, such as Understanding Tourism for Michigan Communities, are available for communities to host in partnership with MSU Extension’s tourism faculty.

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