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Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area Design Plan


Please see the information below on the first two public engagement events for this project.  There will be one more open house in the fall to review a final draft of the design plan.  The details for this open house will be posted on this page when they become available.


Thank you to everyone who attended the second open house on August 10 at Kirkbride Hall!  We had some thought-provoking discussions and heard a lot of great feedback.

Poster Boards from August 10 open house

Up North Live story on the August 10 open house 


Thank you to everyone who attended the first open house on May 11 at the Cathedral Barn and anyone who took the survey.  A recap of the first open house can be found here:

May 11 Open House Recap 


The Township and ECT have incorporated this input into a conceptual design.  For the second open house, people are encouraged to provide feedback on draft concepts for:

  • Trail routes and mapping
  • Various trail users and safety considerations
  • Surface material types and widths
  • Trailhead location and amenities
  • Trail hubs
  • Signage and wayfinding
  • Trail user experience improvements
  • And more!

We hope to see you at Kirkbride Hall on August 10!


The Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area Design Plan is intended to guide the future of the Commons Natural Area including recreational activity, site improvements, and environmental restoration. The Natural Area is treasured by residents of Garfield Township and people from around the Grand Traverse region. It is a significant recreational asset near the core urbanized area of the region and provides recreational opportunities such as hiking, dog walking, biking, skiing, bird watching, and more. This Design Plan is a community-based planning effort to gather the feedback from key stakeholders and the public on current conditions of the Commons Natural Area, potential design scenarios, and proposed next steps.


Map of Commons Natural Area


The Goals of the Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area Design Plan are to:

  • Create a multi‐user park that meets the year‐round needs of residents and visitors for passive recreation opportunities
  • Create access between the park, adjacent neighborhoods, and other parks
  • Incorporate native landscape materials
  • Inventory, protect, and enhance the park’s natural resources and wildlife habitat
  • Develop storm water management system
  • Create project messaging and identify potential funding sources and partners


Garfield Township is working with a consultant team from Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT) on this project. Please check this page for project updates, including opportunities for public engagement.


Existing Conditions Report


This page last updated on 8/11/2022.

3848 Veterans Drive | Traverse City, MI 49684 | 231-941-1620 | fax: 231-941-1588