Iron Ore Heritage Trail receives funding to fight erosion

MARQUETTE — One of the more popular and important trails in the county is receiving funds to help fight erosion.

The Iron Ore Heritage Trail is a 47 mile multi–use trail throughout Marquette County, and highlights the area’s history and culture.

However, with water levels in Lake Superior rising, preventing the trail and surrounding infrastructure from being lost to erosion is imperative.

“Well one, there’s nowhere else to put this trail,” said Carol Fulcher, an administrator for the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority. “We can’t move it any further in because there’s sewers, there’s gas lines, there’s culverts, it’s a gully area; we can’t move it across the street because it’s private property. And plus, this is the most used part of the trail, obviously because it’s right next to the lake, which everyone wants to see. So it’s important for all of those reasons. The gas lines, the sewer lines, everything that goes through here, to keep those safe as well.”

The project would place large stones along the shoreline of US–41 just south of Marquette, to protect the shore from erosion.

The Michigan DNR is requesting local municipalities to help with the funding; the Marquette City Commission approved a $17,000 contribution last Monday, while Chocolay Township pledged an additional $17,000.

The Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority is hoping to use the local funding as leverage for state grants to fund the rest of the restoration project, which is estimated to cost around $200,000.