Grab yourself a cup of caffeine in some form…make it a big one because this could end up being a LONG story.
I thought I was going to have a photo to put with this update, but there is a bulldozer blocking my view of the trail!
Many of my readers are familiar with what Dan and I call the 4 Mile Corner trail. Some of you know the difficulties we have faced in being able to keep the trail. At one point, maybe 4 years ago, the trail had been bulldozed closed by the DNR. We were still allowed to USE it but couldn’t do anything to maintain it (not even sign it). At that point, Dan and I attended an MSA Council meeting. I got up and explained our situation and asked for help. We were finally able to reach an agreement with the DNR. The DNR “un-bulldozed” the trail and we got our permit.
Each year, since then, it seems like it has been one thing or another. One of the landowners that we had permission to cross 20’ of his property sold it last year and the new landowner would not give us permission. Fortunately, an adjacent property owner gave us permission to cross about 20’ of HIS property so that meant changing leases and re-doing our insurance coverage for him. In the meantime, this same property owner found out that another section of property that we had been crossing for a couple of years and we all thought was STATE property (where it came out at the end of CR 448) actually turned out to be HIS property. We found this out last year and he was agreeable to include it on the lease.
So this year, in August, this man decided he no longer wanted to allow us to cross his property so we were scrambling once again to save the 4 Mile Corner trail. The first property owner that I spoke of did finally agree to allow us access across about 20’ of his property so once again, another lease and an insurance change. In the meantime, the DNR took a look at the “lay of the land” to see where we could move that other section to and still come out at the end of CR 448. This was started in August of this year.
After many sleepless nights, elevated blood pressure, phone calls and emails, we FINALLY got permission and permits from the DNR Friday, the 8th (two days before TASA opens the north trails). We still need permission from the DEQ to put in a culvert, lay some black road cloth down and build a corduroy bridge over the culvert but at least Dan and Keith McNamara were able to put in the trail! There is about 250’ long x 15’ wide section of forest that had to be cleared out, then the trail had to be leveled out and the turn made large enough that a groomer could get through there without kicking the drag out into the swamp.
The permits so far have cost us $347 (this year) and we still have the DEQ permit which is another $50. McNamara’s own a logging business so at least it wasn’t an issue getting the right equipment in there and making short work of it…but it DID have to be done to DNR specs. In the spring we will have to install another gate in order to close it off till the next snowmobile season. Fortunately, we have a gate that we removed from the previous owner’s property when he denied us access.
Dan and Keith ran into a minor problem on Saturday while cutting trees and it involved one lone cedar tree that we were not allowed to remove. Les from the DNR was kind enough to give up a portion of his Saturday and come out to help Dan and Keith figure out where to go. So we thank Les for his assistance on his day off.
Many businesses in town do refer their guests/customers out to 4 Mile Corner market for gas. It saves the snowmobiler the problem of having to interrupt their trip to go into Newberry for gas. This is especially helpful if someone is coming to or from the Falls and headed to or from Pine Stump and beyond. Other businesses have sent told their guests/customers to trailer out to 4 Mile Corner Market and ride from there; this is especially useful it the trail in and out of town is a mess (which it can be in the early or late season). One day late in the snowmobile season last year, we counted 40 trucks with trailers parked at the 4 Mile Corner Market.
The trail has also become important enough that it will be “GPS’ed” by the Sheriff’s Department.
So, it isn’t just OUR business (Clementz’s Northcountry Campground & Cabins) and McNamara’s 4 Mile Corner Market that benefit from this trail. McNamara’s and Dan and I will continue to do what it takes to preserve and maintain this trail…but it is getting to be a tiresome and expensive battle.
Our New Normal
4 weeks ago