Gary Hoensheid of Suttons Bay has plans for a 350-mile walk across Spain that he hopes will help bolster support the purchase of the parkland to establish the Herman Center Community Park in Suttons Bay Township. From March 11 to April 10, Hoensheid will trek across the Camino de Santiago Ancient Pilgrim Trail. “El Camino de Santiago” is Spanish for The Way of St. James. The trail spans 500 miles from the border of France and heads west across Northern Spain, ending near the Atlantic Ocean at Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, the burial place St. James the apostle of Christ. St. James established the trail during his missionary work following the death of Christ.
“Life is short and it’s time for me to go on a long walk,” said Gary. “I will donate $700, which represents $2 per mile of my trek to a project I strongly believe in, the Herman Center Community Park Project.”
“The Pilgrim Trail for me, at 57, represents an opportunity for reflection and spiritual renewal. The tradition on a Pilgrimage is to carry a rock, representing your transgressions in life. I will carry my rock throughout my trek and I will throw my rock in the Ocean at the end of the trail and begin with a fresh start.”
The Herman|Center Community Park project is an effort of the Suttons Bay Parks and Recreation Committee, in partnership with the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, to acquire 126-acres of property located within walking distance of Suttons Bay Village, School, Senior Center, and will connect with the Leelanau Trail.
The majority of the parkland will remain a natural and preserved wetland and wildlife habitat and the remaining 26 acres is planned to be used for a variety of recreational activities, including tennis, soccer, fishing, volleyball, and more.To date, campaign leadership has secured more than $475,000 in gifts and pledges toward their total Phase I goal of $550,000. The committee’s goal is to raise the remaining amount by April 30 in order to secure matching funds from a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant.
To contribute to the project, donations should be directed to the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation Greater Suttons Bay Park and Recreation Fund. Visit www.4good4ever.org or call 231-935-4066. Gift cards are also available at the Suttons Bay Township office.