Iron Ore Heritage Trail seeks grant to extend to Lakenenland

CHOCOLAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJMN) — The Iron Ore Heritage Trail may see expansion in the near future.

In April 2022, the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority will apply for a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The funds would help extend the Iron Ore Heritage Trail for eight kilometers towards the Lakenenland Sculpture Park.

“Every five years we do a recreation plan, to kind of say what we want to do in the next five years and that helps us get grants,” said Iron administrator Carol Fulsher. Ore Heritage Recreation Authority.

“So in our last leisure plan, people asked us if we could go up to Lakenenland. It’s in the township of Chocolay, which is a member of our organization, so he finally made it into the list and he came out on top. And yes, we want to extend our trail five miles further east and arrive at Lakenenland which is a perfect complement to the Iron Ore Heritage Trail for its metal carving art.

The authority has been in conversation with the owner of Lakenenland. Fulsher said Tom Lakenen fully supports the project.

“We are always looking for ways to make the trail a better experience for locals and those who visit here. And I think people who come to Lakenenland will appreciate being able to, you know, park there and ride their bikes or walk. They can go to the casino from there, they can go into Chocolay Township or even Marquette or Ishpeming or Negaunee or Republic. So that meshes well with what we’re trying to do.

The Iron Ore Heritage Trail is currently 47 miles, and adding this extension would bring it to 52 miles of trail through Marquette County. The project is expected to cost between $500,000 and $1 million.

“Right now our trail ends at Kawbawgam Road, there’s a little pocket park there so we want to build a new trail,” Fulsher said. “There is already an ORV/snowmobile trail on what is called the Old Soo Line railroad which is state owned. “So what we’re doing is building alongside. a parallel trail with a 100 foot corridor. So motorized and non-motorized vehicles can both be in the same lane, but they will have their separate paths, so this will be new for us as well. Then we will head five miles east of this corridor to get to Lakenenland.

The Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority is expected to know by December 2022 whether it has been awarded the grant and hopes to begin construction on the expansion in 2023.

If you would like to send a letter of support for the project, you can email them to [email protected] or call 906-235-2923.

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