MUNISING– The Upper Peninsula has been recognized nationally for being a mountain biking destination. One local city is adding new trails this summer and putting in work to maintain the good reputation.
This year the Munising Bay Trail Network has added on nearly four and a half miles to local trails. A trail is currently being built on the West side of town, the trailhead is located by Hillside party store. This universal access trail is 1.4 miles long winding up to the top of the bay.
“On top there’s a skills loop that has multiple wooden features as well as teeter totters, bridges, etc. There’s also a jump track that is about a 1,000 feet long that has several features on that as well,” MBTN Vice President David Lieble said. “So that contractor is working on making a boulder trail right now that will parallel the jump track. That’s exciting, we’re excited to have that completed this year as well.”
But what is a boulder trail?
The mostly downhill track is filled with one to two foot diameter boulders. Trails such as this one are not common in the U.P This particular track is meant for skill developing- so bikers can get acquainted with a different type of terrain. Other trails near town such as the Valley Spurs, are not as intense.
“This trail here is very mild in the world of mountain biking type of trail. It has a lot of flow to it, it really rides nicely,” Lieble said. “We get a ton of comments about how well the trail flows in both directions and that’s really positive for us. We like having trails that are not intimidating to start with that are very fun for people to ride and I think that trail really offers that.”
The construction being done this summer is through a contractor out of Marquette. But according to David this year outside of the core group of volunteers, extra help including the Lake Superior Watershed and a church group from Indianapolis have made a huge difference. Projects by the network are funded through DNR grants and local grants. Other means of funding are through fundraisers, including the Picture Rocks Road Race.
“Munising is obviously a high tourist destination and our group is focused on getting people out on the trails whether it is hiking, mountain biking, dog walking, or anything just getting people out on the trails,” Lieble said. “I feel like our group is doing a great job of getting more trails out there and getting people out and increasing the tourism.”
The Munising Bay Trail Network asks bikers to always wear helmets. All the trails are two-way, so use caution and be courteous.
For more information on the trail network or mountain biking visit the MBTN.