LANSING – Funding for a trail along Little Bay de Noc from Gladstone has been approved by the state legislature as part of projects and acquisitions with the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund that includes ten projects in the Upper Peninsula.
Gladstone will receive $300-thousand to construct the Bay de Noc trail.
Earlier this month, the city received funding for pre-construction work. At that time, city manager Darla Falcon said they hope to begin construction next year.
“This project will probably be let this fall and then analyze them over the winter. This is a 2017 construction project though,” said Darla Falcon, Gladstone city manager.
The scenic non-motorized trail will be ten feet wide with four overlooks for fishing or bird watching on Lake Michigan.
The $28 million spending bill approved Wednesday goes to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature. It includes several projects in the U.P. and purchase of property at the Douglass Houghton Waterfall in Houghton and waterfront property along Lake Superior by Brimley.
Superior Township Riverview Park
Acquisition of a 0.91-acre riverfront parcel in a strategic location that is centrally located on the southeast corner of Highway M-221 and Six Mile Road in the Town of Brimley. The site is viewed as being an ideal public gathering space for those who enjoy outdoor recreation, as it lies within 1500 feet of Lake Superior and has 229 feet of frontage on the Waiska River.
Douglas Houghton Waterfall
DNR Parks and Recreation Division
Acquisition by MDNR Parks and Recreation Division of approximately 80 acres located in Houghton County in order to preserve and provide public access to the Hammell Creek gorge and Douglass Houghton Falls, considered to be among the tallest waterfalls in Michigan. The property will also serve as a trailhead for the Hancock to Laurium Rail Trail. The DNR plans to partner with the Houghton Keweenaw County Recreation Authority and the Charter Township of Calumet to develop and maintain the property as a scenic site.
Eight development projects in the U.P. were funded, including the Bay de Noc Trail in Gladstone.
Laughing Whitefish Falls Scenic Site Access Improvements
DNR Parks and Recreation Division
Redevelopment to provide visitors with improved access to one of Michigan’s most beautiful waterfalls. Developed in the 1970’s the existing improvements include a parking lot, pathways, boardwalk and a scenic overlook. Although the parking lot and access pathways were recently improved, the wooden boardwalks and overlook structures have exceeded their usable life. This project, by the MDNR Parks and Recreation Division, will repair or replace the existing boardwalk and scenic overlook structures to improve safety and improve
accessibility as well as serving as a convenient trailhead on Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail.
Bay de Noc Trail System
City of Gladstone
Development to construct the Little Bay de Noc Trail, part of the Iron Belle Trail in the City of Gladstone, along US-2 for 2.5 miles along Little Bay de Noc on Lake Michigan; one of the most scenic stretches of the route. This portion of the shoreline is currently inaccessible to the public. The trail will be ten feet wide with four overlooks for fishing, resting, and bird watching on Lake Michigan. The new Bay de Noc Trail system will provide a safe and scenic non-motorized travel route for pedestrians and cyclists between Escanaba Township and Gladstone.
Donald McKenzie Memorial Park Enhancements
Development to recreate the community park and regional trailhead with a new lighted pavilion, parking, walkways, picnic area, and landscaping. The pavilion will shelter a new ice skating rink and warming center with accessible restrooms and serve as the Visitor Center with displays for regional trail maps. New walking trails will be installed throughout the park and a picnic area will feature accessible picnic tables so the park will be welcoming to all individuals. New parking will also be provided with accessible spaces. Native Michigan landscaping will further emphasize the bountiful nature of the area.
Whitefish Trail Restoration Project
Development to construct part of a planned 40-mile Wilderness Lakes Trail System. The proposed trail follows the route of the historic Whitefish Lake Road, originally constructed for Ladybird Johnson’s motorcade when she dedicated the adjacent Sylvania Wilderness in 1967. After the dedication, the road was destroyed and abandoned for 45 years. This 2.5-mile segment extends from Thousand Island Lake Road on the North to intersect it again on the South, providing a safer alternative for cyclists using a narrow and winding section of
this shared road that is currently the county-designated bike route. The new route traverses a beautiful landscape of pristine forests and inland lakes.
Little Bear East Recreation Park Development
City of St. Ignace
Development of the Little Bear East Recreation Park as a community sports park and trailhead for the Iron Belle Trail and North Country Scenic Trail which traverses the site. Improvements include new pathways, access to a large pond via a fishing and viewing platform, and development of two softball fields to accommodate community softball programs and allow for attraction of weekend tournaments. A new restroom and concession building will serve park visitors, hikers, and ATV trail users who access connecting motorized and non-motorized recreational trails to the north.
Father Marquette Park Accessibility/Improvement Plan
City of Marquette
Redevelopment of this important historic site so that it provides access to persons of all ability levels. The project will feature pathways throughout the park and up to a large bronze sculpture of the famed explorer, Father Jacques Marquette. The work will feature an elevated viewing platform which provides dramatic vistas of Lake Superior. The project will also provide for an accessible picnic area. The park serves as a trailhead for the Iron Belle/Iron Ore Heritage/North Country Scenic Trails which pass by this site. Paved walkways will provide an accessible connection to the park from the Front Street trail routes. Other project improvements include bike
racks, benches and native Michigan landscaping.
Schwemwood Iron Ore Heritage Trailhead Parking/Path/Wetland
Marquette Charter Township
The Schwemwood Iron Ore Heritage Trailhead Parking, Path and Wetland Project will provide universal access to the Iron Ore Heritage Trail (IOHT) for people of all ages and abilities. The site is Marquette Township’s only IOHT trailhead. The parking area will be designed to exceed minimum accessibility standards and visitors will utilize a new universally-designed access pathway from the lower level parking area up to grade-level access on the Iron Ore Heritage Trail at minimal gradients. An additional feature of the project will be the development of an overlook to a forested wetland habitat including an educational nature interpretive sign. Site furnishings and native landscaping will further enhance the attractiveness of this wooded wayside trailhead for park visitors.
Veterans Memorial Park Improvement Project
Development to construct over 3000 feet of new nature trails throughout the park, enhancing the park for both day-use and campground visitors. The limestone trail will include a 350-foot boardwalk through the park’s wetlands. Interpretive signage along the trail will educate the public about local flora and fauna. The park serves as a major trailhead for both the Iron Belle Trail and State ATV and snowmobile trails, with parking. Dark sky compliant LED lighting in the parking area will facilitate wintertime night use and deter vandalism without adding light pollution.
The trust fund consists of payments from companies that develop state-owned minerals such as oil and gas. A board chooses projects for funding each year. There were a total of 44 projects statewide.