BIG PRAIRIE TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Developers broke ground on a new trail along the Muskegon River that officials believe could become a national attraction. 

Construction on Michigan's Dragon at Hardy Dam trail will start up soon. The trail is intended to be a "unique, adventure sports destination" and promotes Michigan's "triple bottom line," according to the Michigan State University Extension.

The Dragon trail is now fully five years in planning and will span over 47 miles along the banks of the Hardy Pond on Muskegon River -- winding through Mecosta and Newaygo counties and crossing the massive Hardy Dam.

The Dragon trail is a non-motorized, multi-use, natural surface trail. It will include a 47 mile mountain biking and pedestrian adventure loop trail designed, engineered and endorsed by the prestigious International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). 

The trail will be managed by Mecosta and Newaygo county parks boards and maintained through revenues and fees generated from the trail. It will also be located on land owned by Consumers Energy and will have water views, challenging valleys and 23 proposed bridges along the trail. The Dragon trail is set to be finished in 2022, pending approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

A comprehensive economic impact study conducted by Michigan State University's Center for Economic Analysis reveals that, as a result of this project, West Michigan can expect the creation of 70 new jobs and an annual increase of economic activity of over $4.15 million per year.

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