Trail plans to be completed soon, bids to be taken
By ERICA KOLASKI
Tribune Staff WriterCHEBOYGAN - Construction plans for the 61-mile recreational bicycle trail that connects Gaylord to Mackinaw City will soon be finished, allowing the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to take bids on the $2 million project.
The project, set to begin in the spring of 2007, is being funded through a $1.48 million grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation Enhancement Program, with the balance of funding being provided by the DNR and local organizations.“The Top of Michigan Trails Council has been the driving force behind the local fundraising efforts” said DNR Director Rebecca Humphries. “We would like to acknowledge and thank the Trails Council for their commitment and continuous effort to bring together this overwhelming community financial support for the development of this significant public multipurpose recreational state trail.”Council member Jim Conboy of Cheboygan said that the group is dedicated to fostering trail acquisition and development by working with other agencies.“The Council has been working on this particular project for the past four or five years,” said Conboy.“We're delighted that things are moving along, and I think it will be a real boost for the area,” he said, adding that he often receives calls from people around the state inquiring about the trail.
The former railroad path will be surfaced with compacted crushed limestone, making it an ideal surface for bicyclists, walkers, joggers, hikers and snowmobiles.“Everyone can use this trail. This project will continue regardless of the snowmobile issue,” he said. “Most of the trail is open to snowmobile usage anyway.”The use of snowmobiles along a 12-mile portion of the trail has been debated for a number of years. The DNR is expected to make a decision on the trail usage for snowmobiles Sept. 7.Conboy said that the Trails Council hopes to market the trail, which will include signage along the route, to bicycle and outdoor enthusiasts around the state.
As an aside, Would someone please post a message or send me an email explaining how 61 miles of crushed limestone on a railroad bed to create a trail is 2 million dollars? Maybe there will have to be bridges built? Does anyone know?
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