The initiative to protect and preserve the M-119 corridor originated in 1936. Mrs. C. F. (Alice) Irwin, an early preservationist and naturalist living in Harbor Springs was able, via her state-wide newspaper column, to initiate a grass roots effort to protect and preserve the corridor. At that time several hundred people met to consider protecting the corridor as opposed to other plans being entertained that would have significantly modified the route to accommodate growing usage. Mrs. Irwin successfully petitioned the State legislature to protect and preserve the road in its natural state. Based on a desire to control soil erosion and preserve the natural beauty the preservationists carried the day. That movement continues to the present day.


The purpose of the M-119 Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route Management Plan Update is to provide a review and revision of the M-119 Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route Committee’s objectives and actions which incorporated an updated photographic inventory. 

Official discussion regarding M-119’s preservation was initiated in 1990, when a roadside survey was conducted by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to determine the origins and destinations of the travelers using M-119. In 1992, MDOT contracted with the Little Traverse Conservancy, a local land protection agency, to conduct a scenic inventory of the roadway. This information was utilized by local citizens in the early discussions of the roadway’s preservation and management as a heritage route. The goal of the M-119 Heritage Route Committee in 2002 was to develop a management plan that best reflected the interests of the community. The M-119 Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route was designated in 2003.
Historic Site Historic Site
Monday, May 13, 2013
This page last updated on 12/17/2018.
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