FKT: Christine Heckler, Loretta Tobolske-Horn - Mike Levine Lakelands Trail (MI) - 2022-09-09

Route variation
out & back
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
7h 39m 35s

42 years = 42 miles along the 21 mile out-and-back section of the Mike Levin Lakeland Trail with my friend and birthday week buddy Loretta Tobolske-Horn (aka Ultra Crazy Runner)!! 🥳🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏼‍♀️ Loretta already holds the one-way female FKT on this section of the trail. Big love 💗 and thanks to our two other friends who ran the Stockbridge to Pinckney section with us and extra special thanks to my husband, Chad, for serving as our Hamburg aid station (cigar and all)! We left my car at the Pinckney depot for water and also refilled water at the gas station in Gregory.

Outhouses are available at each trailhead:

1. Stockbridge Trailhead (M-52 and S. Center St, Stockbridge, MI 49285)
2. Gregory Trailhead (188 Main St, Gregory, MI 48137)
3. Pinckney Trailhead (499 Pearl St, Pinckney, MI 48169)
4. Pettysville Trailhead (Pettysville Road and M-36, Hamburg, MI 48139)
5. Hamburg Trailhead (10699 Hamburg Road, Hamburg, MI 48139)

It was harder than I expected, and super hot 🥵 (in the 80's), but it always feels good to push my body to its limits and know I can do it. For Loretta our run was training for a 100 mile race next month and part of a 100 mile training week! 🤩

This route was added as an FKT when the Mike Levin Lakeland Trail was only 21 miles long. Currently, the trail runs 34 miles between Hamburg Township in Livingston County and Blackman Township in Jackson County. Opened to the public in 1994 as the Lakelands Trail State Park, it is a popular destination for people looking to enjoy the outdoors. The trail is also a component of the Great Lake to Lakes Trails Route #1, which extends 275 from South Haven to Port Huron. Local philanthropist, Mike Levine, contributed extensive resources to transform the corridor into an improved trail. In 2018, the DNR changed the trail’s name to the Mike Levine Lakelands Trail State Park in recognition of Mike’s efforts.

In December 2018, the DNR Heritage Trail Program held the first community engagement meeting for a project to add 12 interpretive signs along the trail. Thanks to a grant from Mike Levine, Josh Kaminski, then a graduate student in Eastern Michigan University’s Historic Preservation Program, assisted on the project for two years. The Heritage Trail Coordinator and Kaminski met regularly with members of the community to identify the area’s important stories, conduct research, and acquire images.

In November 2021, Michigan History Center staff and volunteers installed 11 signs interpreting the natural and cultural history along the trail. People can cross the Huron River and travel along the “Chain of Lakes,” learning about the Pottawatomi and the area’s resort history along the way. They will discover remnants of the railroad era and learn how it transformed the area in the 1880s. Trail users can learn the history of communities they pass through, some of which date back to the 1830’s. Other stories include artist Baltasar Martinez, novelist Mary Clavers, the Edwin S. George Preserve, and the Jackson prison.

A twelfth interpretive sign will be added once the trail surface is improved 3.7 miles to Blackman Township in fall 2022. The new signs are in addition to five that the MotorCities National Heritage Area had previously installed on the eastern section of the trail. With seventeen interpreted historic stops, the Mike Levine Lakelands Trail is an outdoor recreation and cultural destination for all to enjoy.