Columbia Township passed into law Monday night (8/21) a new ordinance that permits the use of golf carts on public roads with some restrictions.  Currently it’s illegal to operate a golf cart on Columbia Township roads.  After certain conditions are met, the new law becomes effective.  It will take awhile for that to happen.

Columbia Township Police Chief Jay Niles attended a Spirit Trail meeting to give his take, and to discuss the new law.  The Clark Lake Spirit Trail creates a 7.3 mile route around the lake.  Part of that is shared automobile traffic.  Seven sections are off-road and are non-motorized, and some cross private property. Those non-motorized sections make it possible for walkers, runners, and bikers to complete the circumference of the lake for walking, running, or cycling.  Without them, some areas would be impassible or dangerous (like Jefferson Road).

  • Jefferson Rd. between Hayes Dr. and Magic Forest
  • Magic Forest
  • Sandy Beach to S. Woodland cut-thru
  • S. Woodland to Oakwood Ave. cut-thru
  • Former railroad bed parallel to Hyde Rd.
  • County Park
  • Rita Dr. to Grand Blvd (Welcome to Clark Lake sign)

Chief Niles explained that those non-motorized sections exclude golf carts.  As restricted area, the ordinance states “A golf cart shall not be operated on any sidewalk, improved path or trail designated for non-motorized use unless otherwise designated for such use.”    Signs exist now that define non-motorized sections.  At the chief’s recommendation, the committee said they would create new signs that point specifically to “no golf carts.”

In October 2022, someone on a golf cart hit the fence on a cut-through, damaging it.

The no-motor vehicles signs are already posted.  The added sign would take it further with “no golf carts.”  One of those already exists, placed by the property owner that allows the cut-through on his property.

To read more about the passing of the ordinance please click here.  To read the entire ordinance, click here.

The Spirit Trail committee consists of volunteers who work without compensation.  Along with others around the lake, they come together to ensure the Trail stays in good shape.  Some improvements require hiring contractors.  Such was the case when the path along the old railroad bed and County Park sections were repaved this season.

Other improvements include repaving the area adjacent to the post office and building a new paved section near the Welcome to Clark Lake Sign.  The photo below was taken during the construction process, when the Sign was still a dream.

This kind of activity is supported by donations and fundraisers.  Donations for a plaque on the Welcome to Clark Lake Sign are $1000 each.  The white highlight indicated the latest donors at the time this photo was taken.  More plaques will be added this fall.

Run Clark Lake makes a donation each year.

At various times, individuals help out by making a donation through this website.  The Spirit Trail is part of the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation, a 501c3.