April 21, 2021 - 7:50 am

Along the Nakwema Trailway with 4Front Credit Union

By 20Fathoms

Late last year, 20Fathoms talked to several newcomers to Traverse City who all shared their wisdom about moving to the area. One thing they agreed on: that the region’s abundance of natural areas and trails offer incredible opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Photo credit: John Robert Williams

Soon, Northern Michigan residents and visitors will have a new trail to explore: the Nakwema (nah-KWAY-mah) Trailway. To get the details on this new trail, we talked to 4Front Credit Union, a 20Fathoms sponsor and member of the Nakwema Trailway Founders Circle. Read on to see what they had to say about this new trail, which will connect Traverse City to Charlevoix.

Introducing the Nakwema Trailway: Eagles and loons and whitetail deer, oh my!

Picture this:  you’re the Nakwema Trailway.  You span over 45 miles and witness the natural miracles of the native flora and fauna unfolding every day. You follow ancient tribal routes, connecting some of Northern Michigan’s most pristine land and waterways. Your name comes from the Ojibwe word meaning “where paths connect.”

In fact, the Nakwema Trailway will soon connect Traverse City and Charlevoix with a bike and walking trail serving as the final connector in a 325+ mile trail network. Led by TART Trails and Top of Michigan Trails, the Nakwema Trailway links many vibrant communities and over 25 protected natural areas throughout three counties in Northern Lower Michigan. Most importantly, it connects a community of friends, neighbors, and visitors who hike, cycle, and find renewed energy and solace in the trail system.

To help fund the project, 4Front has pledged a total of $100,000 over five years in the form of a $10,000 annual gift and an additional $10,000 annual match. The matching monies caught the attention of another born-and-bred Northern Michigan business – Short’s Brewing Company. 4Front and Short’s decided to join forces to support this amazing effort to take the Nakwema Trailway from a dream to a reality.

“We’re looking to find ways to give our members, our neighbors, and our communities access to vibrant areas to enjoy the great outdoors,” said Andy Kempf, CEO, 4Front Credit Union.

Andy Kempf, CEO, 4Front Credit Union

Together, 4Front and Short’s will provide foundational support in the form of a $150,000 investment over 5 years with the hope of welcoming more partners to this exciting region building effort.

“4Front Credit Union’s leadership as a Nakwema Trailway Founders Circle donor speaks volumes about their commitment to healthy people and connected communities,” said Julie Clark, Executive Director, TART Trails. “In collaboration with Short’s Brewing Company, their collective giving is inspiring the bold vision of a trail that honors the history, ecology, and cultural heritage of Northwest Lower Michigan.”

Find More Trails Near You

You’re never far from a scenic trail for hiking, biking, or cross-country skiing in the Grand Traverse Region. Check out these resources to find your next trail to explore:

For more information about living, working, and playing in Traverse City, visit Discover Traverse City (20Fathoms)Michigan’s Creative Coast, Downtown Traverse City, or Traverse City Tourism.

4Front Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative serving members across the state of Michigan and pairing great rates with minimal service fees.

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