Sugarloaf Mountain to expand parking

MARQUETTE COUNTY — One of Marquette County’s most popular destinations is set to undergo some important changes.

Sugarloaf Mountain is set to expand its parking capacity, to accommodate its growing number of visitors.

According to one county official, the project is a necessary one, to discourage visitors from practicing unsafe parking habits while visiting the mountain.

“The parking lot that we have is just over-capacity and we need to address it, because we have a lot of vehicles parking along the side of County Road 550,” said Thyra Karlstrom, Manager of Planning for Marquette County. “Sometimes we see them in the actual travel lanes, and it’s really just an unsafe condition that’s occurring at that location.”

The project, which is slated to begin in July, is divided into three parts: the construction of a new gravel parking lot just south of the mountain’s entrance, the creation of a deceleration turn lane leading up to the current parking lot, and the expansion of the existing parking lot.

Funding for the project, which costs around $331,000, comes from the county’s Forest and Recreation Fund.

Altogether, the project will add roughly 110 new parking spaces to the location. Future projects for the nature area include the installation of state-of-the-art garbage collection system, picnic tables, and a camera at the summit for those who can’t hike the trail.

Last year, over 60,000 people visited the nature area, an increase of over 15,000 from the year prior.