Grosse Pointe Woods Foundation unveils Burke Fossee Fitness Trail

By: April Lehmbeck | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 11, 2014

 Residents got to try out the new equipment on Lake Front Park’s fitness trail earlier this month.

Residents got to try out the new equipment on Lake Front Park’s fitness trail earlier this month.

Photo provided by the Grosse Pointe Woods Foundation


GROSSE POINTE WOODS — While paying monthly fees at a gym is a popular option for those who want to drop a few pounds or just stay healthy, residents in Grosse Pointe Woods can fill their exercise needs on the new Burke Fossee Fitness Trail in Lake Front Park.

Thanks to the Grosse Pointe Woods Foundation’s work to raise money to make this a possibility, new fitness stations were unveiled during Grosse Pointe Woods’ annual Bridge Walk on Labor Day.

Fitness equipment has been placed at nine scenic locations along the existing 1.4-mile trail in the park. The equipment can be enjoyed by all ages and fitness levels, according to Foundation members. Each station is spaced between 100 and 200 yards so people can run or walk from station to station.

“We’re excited about it,” Foundation President Rob Nederhood said. “Our mission is really to raise funds and use them to create new projects that will enhance the lives for Grosse Pointe Woods citizens.

“We owe a special thanks to the many donors, the station sponsors, and the GPW Department of Public Works for their help in the completion of this project,” Nederhood said in a news release. 

The exercise stations provide an ab crunch station, a push-up station and more. 

Nine individual donors and a generous donation from the Fossee family made the project a reality. Station sponsors will be noted at each site.

The fitness trail is named after Burke Fossee, a longtime resident who had a fondness for Lake Front Park, and staying fit and active.

Burke Fossee was a trial lawyer, but he made sure to carve time out of his schedule for physical fitness.

He spent time at Lake Front Park often on his sailboat, named the Legal Eagle.

“It’s so special to honor my father that way,” Foundation board member and past president Mark Fossee said. “He was so instrumental in encouraging us to stay fit. If he was still with us, he’d be the first one on that path using it.

“He was a real physical fitness nut ever since we were little,” Mark Fossee said, adding that he made it a lifestyle and family affair.

Keeping his family in mind when it came to promoting a healthy lifestyle continued after Burke Fossee’s children were grown.

“When he tired of a piece of exercise equipment, he would donate it to his kids,” Mark Fossee said.

Burke Fossee’s grandson, Dane Fossee, another member of the Grosse Pointe Woods Foundation, also is happy to see the fitness equipment on the trail.

“I think it’s a great tribute to our grandfather,” he said. “It’s something that the citizens will really enjoy.”

While the equipment can be used in a circuit, some people may even stop by to visit just their one station with their favorite scenic view. Foundation members think the stair climber overlooking the bay will be a popular station.

Residents, city officials and foundation board members had a chance to try out the equipment during the Labor Day event. Nederhood said they had good feedback so far on the new addition to the park.

“People were very excited to see it,” he said, adding that they even received letters the following day from people who enjoyed using the equipment for the first time. “We had from kids to seniors try out the equipment.”

In the future, the foundation may be able to raise more donations to add even more equipment for the residents to enjoy.