Improvements, adding land planned for Iron Ore Trail

A SIGN POINTS the direction to the Jackson Mine Trail that pass by an artist’s sculpture of three miners, a 40-ton ore crusher and a set of passenger rail cars in a section of the Negaunee Old Towne located along a portion of the Iron Ore Heritage Recreational Trail in Negaunee. (Mining Journal file photo)

NEGAUNEE — Work is nearing completion on improvements to the ORV Route C Trail between Negaunee and Republic, said Bob Hendrickson, trail administrator of the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority.

“We are the sponsors for this section of ORV trail that runs from Ishpeming through Tilden, Ely and Humboldt, ending at the bank building in Republic,” he said.

The popular corridor of trails is a draw for four-wheelers and side-by-side off-road vehicles 65 inches and narrower. Henrickson said the $35,000 project is being funded by the state’s off road vehicle trail permit program. Off-road vehicle riders can purchase ORV permits anywhere hunting licenses are sold.

Hendrickson said the IOHRA is spending more on the trail than the usual annual maintenance to open it up. Trees and plants have grown into the trail, narrowing it. Bulldozer work is being done to push back the edges of the trail to the original corridor. Basic maintenance also includes two movings a year.

Also this summer, the IOHRA is working on a nonmotorized trail extending into Chocolay Township.

This trail will run parallel to the ORV trail there.

“We don’t sponsor the motorized part of this trail,” Hendrickson said. “We are still in the planning stages of extending this trail, which currently ends at Kawbawgam. It will wind east to Lakenenland (metal sculpture park).”

He said the project will be funded by a Michigan Trust Fund grant, but construction will not begin until 2025.

“This summer we will work with Coleman Engineering on planning this trail, which includes working around some wetlands,” he said.

Hendrickson noted that the IOHRA closed on 176 acres of donated property in Marquette Township in the vicinity of Brickyard Road. Donated by Joyce Britton and Carol Schwemin, Koski Woods was purchased by their grandfather about 80 years ago and they don’t want to see it developed commercially. Hendrickson said the IOHRA expects to use a Noquemanon Trail Network grant to make a single-track biking and hiking trail over the next three to five years.


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