The Jonesville Rail Trail was opened to the public on October 27, 2016. It was named the Jerry Russell Trail, in honor of our long time Public Works Superintendent on September 20, 2017.
The trail is a 1.4 mile long, 10 foot wide paved path. It is a "non-motorized" path that allows additional recreation opportunities for walkers, bicyclists, and roller bladers in Jonesville. The path connects to the Hill-Jo Trail that runs along M-99 between Hillsdale and Jonesville at Gaige Street. The path heads east along Gaige Street and north along Beck Street until it intersects with the abandoned rail bed. The trail then follows the abandoned rail bed providing a scenic nature route along the St. Joseph River. It crosses US-12 between McDonalds and the Udder Side, continuing north until it meets the St. Joseph River again at the former rail bridge.
View the Jerry Russell Trail maps
Learn more about the history and wildlife of the River
The project was supported by a competitive Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant. In addition, generous donations were received from Donald and Donna Playford, the Jonesville Rotary Club, and the Hillsdale County Community Foundation.
The path features:
- Jonesville's first public access to the St. Joseph River
- A more scenic alternative to the M-99 paved path
- Connection to the North Country Trail, a 4,600 mile from Crown Point, New York to Lake Sakakawea State Park in North Dakota
- Benches, trash receptacles, and an interpretive sign
- A universally designed path to accommodate users with various abilities
Jerry Russell was an avid outdoorsman and conservationist. The outstanding streets and infrastructure in the City of Jonesville are a measure of his legacy. The trail, too, is a symbol of his legacy. He was a strong advocate for the then Village of Jonesville and for the expansion of recreation opportunities for all residents.