It's one of Lansing's most scenic areas, but up until today there's never been a group dedicated to supporting and raising awareness about the Lansing River Trail. Thanks to the Friends of the Lansing River Trail group there is finally a group focused on maintaining and expanding the trail.
Kevin Shaw just wanted to thank someone for the years he's been biking the River Trail.
"I looked around like who could I thank and I couldn't really find an organization that was affiliated with the River Trail," said Shaw, President of Friends of the Lansing River Trail group.
So Shaw decided to send a note to Mayor Bernero, never imagining that a week later he would get a phone call that the Mayor wanted to meet with him.
"He said 'I'd like you to consider starting a Friends of the River Trail group,' " Shaw recalled of his meeting with Mayor Bernero.
Now that group is becoming a reality, with Shaw in the lead.
The trail is still funded by the city of Lansing. The Friends group is a nonprofit that will help raise awareness and support for the nearly 13 miles of paths.
"There's just so many things that aren't happening cause there's been no place to have a dialogue so now we're hoping to be the organization which people can come to," Shaw said.
From organizing clean ups to raising funds, and even being involved in expansion plans, Shaw says the group hopes to improve the trail for everyone.
"There's safety issues frankly there's time when it's not the safest thing," Shaw said, mentioning adding light as one area of improvement.
The group also plans on working with Lansing Police volunteers that currently patrol the trail.
"They see the cart they know that they're not out there alone," said Maragert Barnes, the volunteer coordinator. "They know that they can go to them if something should happen."
While those volunteers send people on regular shifts, they hope to expand weekend patrols. Something Shaw says the Friends group could help make a reality.
Shaw hopes promoting safety will be a first step towards getting more people on the trail.
"I'm sure you know a lot of people that go what's the Lansing River Trail? Well we hope that day is coming in the near future when everybody knows."
The group is working with multiple sponsors including companies and individuals. For information about membership or what you can do to donate follow the links to their websites.