Michigan Tech to possibly upgrade outdoor facilities

Courtesy: Idaho Steelheads

HOUGHTON —  Outdoor adventurers in the Keweenaw Peninsula may soon be able to enjoy the convenience of an indoor locker room and bathroom facility. This could be part of a two phase lodge build on a Houghton trail system. The announcement comes after Michigan Technological University’s Athletic Department, received a $150,000 grant to promote the use of the trails.

“We host a variety of Nordic ski races, biking, snow shoeing, hiking. A variety of events happen at this trail head,” said Suzanne Sanregret, Director of Athletics at Michigan Tech.

Those who enjoy what Michigan Tech’s Outdoor Trail System has to offer may be looking forward to some positive additions.

“We have state of the art trails and grooming and a great race environment. What were lacking is the infrastructure related to locker rooms and restrooms and a lodge component, and we know that the Great Lakes Sports Commission and Michigan Tech Athletics and Recreation have similar missions and that’s to advance sport and recreation in your communities,” Sanregret said.

With $150,000 to work with, planning will begin on water and sewer lines, before anything else.

“The first phase is infrastructure related to water and sewer. The second phase will include a lodge and facility.”

The trailhead sits on the south side of Houghton with not much residential surroundings, meaning that the existing water and sewer systems would need to be upgraded to accommodate more flow.

“It elevates everything that they’ve got here from being really good to where it is really attractive,” said Doug Luciani, Chairperson for the Great Lakes Sports Commission. “Its what is expected by top tier athletes, whether its national athletes or international athletes that are going to come here to compete. It puts them like their hockey program division 1, this is what you’d expect from a division 1 trail system.”

The Sport’s Commissions recent grant will get the project started, but more funding will be needed to complete furthers phases of the build.

“Our Grant Certainly won’t cover them all, but its a good momentum builder, a good start for the campaign to raise the rest of the funds,” Luciani said.

No word has been given yet as to when construction will begin, or when the new facility will be open for use.

“Were still in the preliminary stages of planning those pieces. We were just awarded the grant. First will be the infrastructure related to water and sewer and then we will work on the fun raising for phase two which will be the actual facility,” said Sanregret.

Michigan Tech’s Trailhead Project is among one of the first five to be funded by the two year old commission.

“We’ll continue to review applications,” said Luciani. “Were starting to get applications from all over Michigan. We’re looking at Copper Peak in Ironwood, were looking at the ski jump in Ishpeming, were looking at a facility for Northern Michigan University.”

For the trail goers at Tech,  the piece of mind of being able to lock up your belongings while on the trail, or take a hot shower afterwards is something that would be enjoyed for many years to come.

“We have so many youth and community members that use our trail system, weather it be biking, skiing, snow showing, just having a facility where they can congregate and really celebrate the trailhead and the events that happen here,” Sanregret stated.