Fred Meijer and the Creation of the West Michigan Trails Network
Fred Meijer has always had the idea that people in the city were just a bit out of place and needed the country. "Ninety-five percent of folks live in the city," he says, "and never get to experience the rural areas surrounding them." He even goes a little further, referring to keeping one's "mental stability" by spending time outside of the noise, congestion, and great human drama of the city. By opting out, even for a short time, to ride one's bike or take a walk, a person - in Fred's estimation - is helping to keep their sanity.
That's why, in 1994, Fred Meijer made a landmark donation of $265,000 to help purchase an abandoned rail line in Greenville, Michigan. This would become the Fred Meijer Heartland Trail and would stretch from Greenville to Alma, encompassing more than 41 miles. A precursor to a life spent donating to create recreational trails, this first trail would set the stage for a man who would later be called the "Johnny Appleseed of Trails" by the organizations he assists.
The great service of Fred and his wife Lena for families in West Michigan means that there exists a place where fresh air, exercise, and - above all - safety are paramount.nd yet, Fred remains humble. "I'm not generous," he scolds when asked. "I just love the trails."
Fred and Lena Meijer continue to donate record amounts to preserve existing trails, and create new sanctuaries for those who, like Fred, need to escape sometimes.
Find Your Route
The Fred Meijer Trails Network spans nearly the whole lower penninsula of Michigan, and there is bound to be a route near you! So find your nearest Fred Meijer trail and ride or walk today!
To use the map, move your cursor over one of the glowing dots and click for more information about the trail. To use the zoom function, click to activate and move over map to view. To turn off, simply click the zoom button a second time.