With just one-third of the trail already built, economic impact is already being felt with visitors from throughout the Midwest and beyond.
Built in 1931, this hydroelectric source of energy owned by Consumers Energy has created a 4,000-acre upstream reservoir. Hardy Pond has naturally become a recreation hotspot with a variety of public parks, more than 2,000 campsites, and several boat launches and docking facilities along 50+ miles of undeveloped shoreline. In seeking to maximize the recreational potential of this unique site, the 47-mile Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam will encircle Hardy Pond while connecting existing recreational infrastructure and add significant value to existing regional recreational opportunities.
Michigan State University’s Center for Economic Analysis conducted a study assessing the impact Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam would have on the local economy. This study found that trail construction would have a significant, positive impact, bringing in more than 100,000 annual visitors and generating $4.15 million in annual economic activity with 70+ new jobs. These benefits will also have a positive effect on the West Michigan and State economies.
The completion of Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam will enhance existing recreational opportunities and have a positive impact on surrounding communities in the form of increased tourism expenditures. Existing and new businesses such as hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, breweries, gas stations, convenience stores, outfitters, and more will benefit from visitors drawn to the region.