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DNR Trust Fund Approves Funding for Trails Council Projects

Trails Council projects receive Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grants

Top of Michigan Trails Council (TOMTC) has received favorable news from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) related to funding for several projects within the TOMTC trails network, which encompasses over 300 miles of multi-use trails in Northern Michigan.

The MNRTF, which was recognized this year for 40 years of service to Michigan, is funded by royalties paid on the sale and lease of state-owned oil, gas and mineral rights, and has generated more than a billion dollars to buy land or land rights, and to develop quality outdoor recreational facilities and opportunities in Michigan. When the Trust Fund was created in 1976, the thrust was to use funds from nonrenewable resources to fund only nonrenewable resources, such as parks and natural areas.

One purchase of land affecting the TOMTC network was the approval for the acquisition of a half-mile corridor along US 31 from Blumke to Milton Road in Emmet County. The property is immediately north of the existing North Western State Trail which is located within the US 31 Highway (Oden Road) road right-of-way. Acquisition of the property would allow for immediate use for snowmobiles in the winter away from the highway, and will allow the community to retain the scenic character of the trail for future generations to enjoy.

Trail enhancement projects within the TOMTC network that were funded include the following:

Otsego County – Iron Belle Trail Otsego County South Development – $300,000 Development of an eleven-mile multi-purpose pathway from Waters northerly to Wisconsin Ave in Gaylord. The trail will be located within the ROW of the Lake State Railroad which runs along Old Highway 27 South through much of the project limits, lending itself to good visibility by motorists, but far enough off the road to provide separation for safety and comfort of trail users. The entire trail which runs parallel to a rail corridor is currently used as a regional snowmobile trail. This trail is part of Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail (from Belle Isle to Iron Mountain).

Otsego County – DNR, Iron Belle Trail – Gaylord Gateway – $300,000 Development of a 1.65 mile paved trail within the City of Gaylord between Grandview Boulevard and Fairview Road. The trail will fill a critical gap in the biking route of the Iron Belle Trail and will connect numerous public facilities including schools, parks and the Gaylord downtown business district, offering alternative transportation for the community. The trail will also connect to other regional trails including the Otsego County Trail and the North Central State Trail.

Otsego County –Vanderbilt Gateway Trailhead Park Development – $300,000 Development of a community park and trailhead in Vanderbilt on the Iron Belle – North Central State Trail which will also serve as a gateway to the Pigeon River Country State Forest, located six miles east. Vanderbilt is a natural stopping place along the trail with easy access to stores and restaurants. An informational kiosk will educate visitors of the natural assets found in the nearby Pigeon River Country State Forest. Park amenities include a pavilion, restroom, playground, community gathering area, fireplace, picnic tables, benches & snowmobile parking.

Charlevoix County – City of Boyne, Boyne Valley Trail Development – Phase 1 – $300,000 Development of 3.6 miles of the 6.1 mile paved non-motorized all-season Boyne Valley Trailway connecting Boyne City to the Village of Boyne Falls. This trailway will extend and enhance the Regional Trail System by connection to the Boyne City to Charlevoix Trail and the Little Traverse Wheelway. Phase I of the Trailway project connects to Boyne City streets with a trailhead at the Boyne City Airport which features paved parking and modern bathroom facilities. At mile point 1.4 the trail provides access to the Boyne River Nature Area that includes a pavilion, benches and a nature trail leading to the Boyne River. At mile point 2.4 the trail passes through the Boyne Valley Township Park (recreational property) with planned future improvements for trail users that include parking, benches, solar lighting, and vault restrooms. Phase I ends at mile point 3.6 where the trail connects to the Boyne Falls Public School and includes use of the paved parking lot.

Cheboygan County – Burt Township, Burt Lake Trail Development (Phase 2) – $295,000 Development to extend Burt Lake Trail approximately 3.1 miles to provide the connection from W. Burt Lake Rd. to E. Burt Lake Rd around the north end of Burt Lake in both Burt and Munro Townships. The 10′-wide paved, non-motorized trail will be separated from the adjacent roadway. Ultimately, the route will provide critical links to connect the Petoskey to Mackinaw Trail in Brutus to the North Central State Trail/Iron Belle Trail in Topinabee. The trail route will traverse a unique natural area owned by the University of Michigan Biological Station known for abundant wildlife and pristine woodlands.