Connecting the trails in the Keweenaw
CALUMET — Those who use the trail system in the Calumet area may soon have easier access to the town, and other trails.
A group of local municipalities and non–profit organizations has received a grant from the National Park Service, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program. The grant will provide technical assistance for planning a cohesive trail corridor around and through Calumet Township, the Village of Calumet, and the Village of Laurium.
“Chances are if you need to leave the house and run to the store, you drive, take a bus, or a sidewalk to get what you need, but what if you could simply hike through the trail. That’s a possible goal that Main Street Calumet hopes to achieve. We have excellent trails in Calumet in and around our area. We want to connect the trails between Laurium and Calumet and through the township so there’s great access both for residents to walk from Laurium to IGA and get groceries, or bike, and also for tourism purposes, we want people to come off the trails and come into our downtown. Those access points are there, it’s just highlighting them and letting people know that they are there and access can happen” said the Executive Director of Main Street Calumet, Leah Polzien.
Polzien hopes to include all trails in the area, both motorized and non and she believes that this is an economic opportunity for business in all three municipalities.
“For instance, we would like people to be able to ski from Swedetown into downtown Calumet and patronize our downtown businesses” said Polzien.
The grant comes from the National Park Service and provisions for the organizations to come up with a plan to create better access, and signage directing people to and from the trails and downtowns.
“What the grant is for is not actually execution, or trail building, or to have signage made, but to do the planning processes to say we do want a sign here, we want to make a trail head at the depot” said Polzien.
The planning process is expected to begin within 60 days, provided that the federal government resolves its internal issues.
“Of course this is probably somewhat contingent on our current shut down situation with the federal government, but I hope that it is all resolved quickly and we can move forward” said Polzien.
Construction associated with the final plan would come from other fund raising efforts, or possibly other grants.
Polzien says, “I think that this trails program is an excellent opportunity for our individual local governments and all of our organizations to work together, communicate, improve our capacity and ability to do larger projects.”