Recreation site access improved along County Road 550

When the long-awaited spring thaw finally sets in, outdoor enthusiasts will have easier access to recreation sites along County Road 550. Marquette Township officials announced today that after collaborating with multiple agencies in the area, the following improvements will be in place for the upcoming season:

The existing, signed dedicated bike route from the City of Marquette to Sugar Loaf Mountain will be extended to Eagles Nest Road. As a result of the County Road 550 improvements, the paved shoulder was widened to four feet, thus meeting State of Michigan requirements for a designated bike route. The extension of the bike route will allow for safe access to key natural, cultural and recreational assets within the Township, as well as State of Michigan forest lands in the area. Additional bike route signs will create added awareness for bicyclists and will mitigate current parking pressure at trailheads and other recreational parking lots along County Road 550.

Most importantly, the extension of the designated bike route will provide area residents and visitors with greater opportunities for non-motorized transportation and active living in Marquette Township, which is consistent with the community’s Master Plan and Recreation Plan goals and objectives.

The Sugar Loaf Mountain parking lot will be resurfaced this summer and will feature a striped parking area to enhance and maximize parking availability at the site. Parking lot entrance and exit improvements will also be made to increase safety to and from the site. Additionally, Marquette County Road Commission will be installing a new location sign for the site that was designed and donated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources who owns and maintains the sites received a $50,000 grant in 2013 to improve the entrances, driveways and parking lots of the two, key recreation areas. The grant paid for aggregate materials and site balancing improvements. The County Road Commission was able to work with the general contractor for the County Road 550 road project to install the materials and perform site balancing, thus maximizing the MDNR’s budget to purchase additional aggregate material with the grant.

New entrance signs will also be installed at Little Presque Isle and Wetmore Landing this summer and have been designed by the MDNR. These signs, along with the new Sugar Loaf Mountain sign, will feature a similar design and aesthetic quality and will enhance park awareness along the corridor.

Marquette Township is proud of this collaborative effort made by the Marquette County Road Commission, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Marquette County Planning Department and the Lundin Mining Corporation. It’s a fine example of recreation stewardship that will assist to preserve and create awareness for these invaluable recreation assets with in our community.