About Us

Who we are

Downriver Linked Greenways is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help facilitate trail planning, development, marketing, and programming of both land and water trails in southeast Michigan.

Since 1998, Downriver Linked Greenways has helped to facilitate over 100 miles of water and land trails in the Downriver Region of Metropolitan Detroit. Downriver Linked Greenways has also partnered with Friends of the Detroit River for more than twenty years. In 2019, Friends of the Detroit River became the fiduciary for the Downriver Linked Greenways to build capacity for non-motorized trail planning, design, and construction. The current trail network includes over 100 miles of both water and land trails that reach within a half-mile of every home and connects millions of residents to each other across Downriver. Our trails traverse over many different areas that include rural, urban, and over 7,000 acres of parkland. The Huron Clinton MetroParks, Wayne County Parks, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, National Water Trail Huron River, and Rouge River Water Trail anchor our entire trail system. In addition, 25 miles of the statewide Iron Belle Trail travels through 10 of our communities.

Congressman John D. Dingell Jr.

In 1999 at the Downriver Summit, Congressman John D. Dingell Jr. envisioned the beginning of what would become the Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative (DLGI).

As an avid advocate for environmental conservation and connecting constituents to the outdoors, his vision and leadership propelled a decades-long effort to improve quality of life by developing a network of land and water trails throughout the Downriver region. Few things brought him more joy than working closely with the staff and volunteers of the Downriver Linked Greenways to bring this project to life. He understood the generational impact investing in our parks and protecting our environment could have on families living in the region, and those visiting from across the country and around the world. Without his support, the Downriver Linked Greenways would not be where it is today.

Downriver Linked Greenways (DLG) Story


DLG began as a result of the Downriver Summit, hosted by Congressman John D. Dingell.


First Trail Master Plan completed for entire region.


First time in Huron Clinton Metroparks history the Lake Erie, Lower Huron, Willow, and Oakwood parks were connected.


Second Trail Master Plan completed for entire region.


DLG begins Detroit Heritage River Water Trail.


DLG becomes a non-profit dedicated to serving the Downriver area to coordinate non-motorized transportation.


DLG officially becomes part of the Statewide Iron Belle Trail.


DLG receives Round 1 Iron Belle Trail Planning Grant to complete a gap planning assessment.


DLG partners with Friends of the Detroit River - Awarded Ralph C. Wilson, Jr Grant to move trails forward.


DLG Launches new website with focus on trail users.


$4.1 million was secured by Congresswoman Dingell to match the $2.1 million awarded by Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.


Gateways were constructed in Flat Rock and Detroit, and the official ribbon cutting June 27. First Tour de Tom bicycle event.


Hired a new full-time Trail Coordinator to lead future efforts

Our Leaders

Leadership of the Downriver Linked Greenways is shared by it's co-chairs who volunteer their time on the project.

Mary Bohling


Mary is Chair of the Downriver Linked Greenways and a district director for Michigan State University Extension. MSU Extension, the community outreach arm of the university, helps Michigan communities, families, individuals and businesses transform and grow through locally based education. Mary works with local governments, nonprofits, school systems and neighborhood groups to help ensure that MSU Extension continues to fulfill this mission in the communities she serves. She mentors Extension staff members in program planning, delivery and evaluation, as well as professional development.

Mary began her career with MSU Extension in 2006 as a Sea Grant educator where she worked with coastal communities and businesses in a 4-county district along the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River, and Western Lake Erie applying science-based knowledge to address Great Lakes issues, including economic development, habitat restoration, coastal tourism initiatives, and greenway/water trail development. She maintains strong connections with local, state, and federal agencies through the leadership of various advisory councils and boards, including the Downriver Linked Greenways.

Mary earned a master's degree in environmental science and a bachelor's degree in environmental science, environmental studies, and anthropology from the University of Michigan.

She was also awarded funding from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program to create the MI Paddle Stewards Program to create a network of trained volunteers across Michigan who search for and report aquatic invasive species while enjoying water trails.

Eric Antolak
Eric Antolak

Trail Program Manager

Eric Antolak is a graduate from Eastern Michigan University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Sport Performance and Business and a Master of Science in Sport Management. He has spent the last seven years working in recreation, managing staff, programs, and assisting with facility renovation projects.

Eric is an avid outdoorsman, spending much of his free time fishing, hunting, and biking. Being a lifelong resident of Downriver, Eric loves the community and looks forward to improving the accessibility of our amazing trail systems. His passion for recreation, the outdoors, and working with people has made his career fulfilling and exciting.

Anita Twardesky


Twardesky has been a longtime advocate for trails, outdoor recreation, community vitality, and economic development. She recently retired as the Community Outreach Manager for Riverside Kayak Connection and is a past Recreation Director for Flat Rock and Woodhaven.

As former co-chair of the Downriver Linked Greenways ( DLG ), she championed the Downriver trail movement and helped convince the State of Michigan to extend the statewide Iron Belle Trail to include the DLG. She also secured funding for a gap analysis of the DLG trail system.

Twardesky is a founding member of the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance and serves on the advocacy group’s board. She chaired the development of the Huron River Trail Town and serves on the Healthy Trenton Coalition.

She is an active member of Southpointe Church, and helped plan and implement “Go Impact,” a program that helps seniors and people with disabilities with residential and yard clean-ups. She has also volunteered with Christnet, a non-profit, which feeds and shelters local homeless people.

Anita is also an Independent Herbalife Wellness Coach.

Twardesky also founded Destination Downriver, a coalition of individuals, businesses, groups and community agencies working to change the perception of Downriver and to promote it as a regional tourist destination.

Downriver’s image from a heritage and resource perspective has shifted in a positive direction as a result of her advocacy, hard work and passion. She also has a talent for pairing talent and resources to achieve her missions.

Twardesky’s work with the DLG and Destination Downriver and its partnership with Friends of the Detroit River are gaining the resources it needs to move its positive vision for Downriver forward.