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DTE Energy Foundation Trail opens today at Waterloo State Recreational Area in Chelsea, Michigan

Partnership with Michigan Department of Natural Resources brings state-of-the-art mountain biking and hiking trail to Washtenaw County

CHELSEA, Mich., June 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The first five-mile loop of the DTE Energy Foundation Trail at Waterloo State Recreational Area in Chelsea opened to the public today at a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony. The cutting-edge, sustainable trail is open for mountain bikers, trail-runners, hikers and cross-country skiers and has been made possible by a partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Potawatomi Mountain Biking Association (PMBA) and a $255,000 grant from the DTE Energy Foundation.

"As a force for growth and prosperity in the communities where we live and serve, DTE Energy Foundation is proud to be a part of this project that provides a wonderful asset and healthy recreation to Michigan residents," said Faye Nelson, vice president, DTE Energy, and board chair and president of DTE Energy Foundation. "This trail will attract visitors and support the local economy. It's a beautiful spot to enjoy one of Michigan's many vibrant green spaces."

Bike trails in other areas of the state, including Marquette and Copper Harbor, have proven that bicycle-friendly communities attract residents and tourists, increase home real estate values and support nearby businesses. A 2014 Michigan Department of Transportation study revealed bicycling has an annual economic impact of $668 million resulting from bike sales, equipment purchases, tourism and reduced health care costs. According to a 2005 report by the Outdoor Industry Foundation, bicycling leads to the creation of 1.1 million jobs, adds $17.7 billion in annual federal and state tax revenue and provides sustainable growth in rural communities throughout the United States.

The DNR partnered with the PMBA, a nonprofit organization and chapter of the International Mountain Biking Association, to develop the modern trail, using state-of the-art technology for the construction. The non-motorized, single-track trail will be approximately 20 miles long and slated for completion in 2020. It will consist of five distinctively different loops over varying terrain. Known as "flow trail," the surface of the trail is mechanically cut to create highly structured grades and out slopes, which are low maintenance and sustainable.

"The DTE Energy Foundation Trail offers a recreational experience that is unique to southeastern Michigan," said Jason Aric Jones, trail project chair of the Potawatomi Mountain Biking Association. "Riders experience an undulating, twisty 'rollercoaster' type of ride. This style of trail building also incorporates significant landscape architecture, building natural elements such as local rock and reclaimed wood back into the trail as permanent features."

The DTE Energy Foundation trail is the newest in Waterloo State Recreation Area, Michigan's largest park in the Lower Peninsula with 21,000 acres of forest, lakes and wetlands. The park features more rare animals and plant species, and more exemplary natural communities, than any other park in the state system.

"We would like to thank both the DTE Energy Foundation and the Potawatomi Mountain Biking Association for forging this partnership and making the first five-mile loop of the trail a reality," said Ron Olson, Chief of Parks and Recreation, Michigan Department of Natural Resources. "In the future, we also have the goal of connecting this trail to the Pinckney State Recreation Area's trail and the Huron-Waterloo trail, which is also under construction."

For more information about the DTE Energy Foundation Trail visit www.dtetrail.org.

About the DTE Energy Foundation
The DTE Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy, continuing the legacy of community support and involvement of its electric and natural gas utilities, which serve 2.1 million electric customers in Southeast Michigan and 1.2 million natural gas customers in Michigan. In 2015, the DTE Energy Foundation provided $15 million in grant support to nonprofits throughout the company's service territories. As one of Michigan's leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. http://www.dteenergy.com/foundation.

About the Michigan Department of Natural Resources
The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

About the Potawatomi Mountain Biking Association
The Potawatomi Mountain Biking Association is a 250+ member non-profit 501(c)(3) Chapter of the International Mountain Biking Association. Its mission is to maintain and develop mountain biking trails, promote and advocate for the sport of mountain biking and build the mountain biking community in Washtenaw and Livingston counties.

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160615/379878LOGO

SOURCE DTE Energy Foundation

For further information: Sallie Justice (DTE Energy) 313.235.5555 and Gary Jones (DNR) 734.475.8307