New features coming to Sugarloaf

MARQUETTE — Sugarloaf Mountain — a popular scenic overlook and hiking area located along Marquette County Road 550 in Marquette Township — will have a picnic area and other new features installed by the end of 2019.

A Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund grant agreement for the improvements was accepted recently by the Marquette County Board of Commissioners.

“Ideally, we could start construction on some of the aspects of this project in 2018,” said Lauren Luce, senior planner at the Marquette County Planning Department. “If that’s not feasible with weather, as soon as weather permits in the spring.”

The grant, which includes $45,000 from the DNR and a $15,000 match from the county, will fund multiple projects at Sugarloaf, including interpretive trail signs, a picnic area with an access path, a solar-powered waste collection and compaction system, bicycle racks and more.

Luce said they envision creating the picnic area in an open grassy location south of the parking lot, or, if feasible, they may make use of the natural landscape to place tables near trees to create a spot with shade.

The area will also have a “smart” waste and recycling system, a solar-powered trash compacting unit that can hold five times the amount a typical unit would. It also has features that prevent animals from accessing it, as well as a system that remotely alerts staff when the unit is full.

Accessibility improvements are also a part of multiple projects as well as a webcam that will be installed on the observation decks at the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain, 470 feet above Lake Superior.