Last night residents in Franklin Township and nearby communities were told about a new recreation opportunity in the Copper Country. Residents currently use a decommissioned MDOT railway along the portage canal up through lake linden to walk, hike and bike near their homes. A walkable trail system that connects copper country communities in that area makes sense. The Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance is one of several organizations that believes trail systems can increase the quality of life and economic opportunities in an area.
“Communities around the United States, Europe as well, but in the United States, have been building trail systems and evaluating their economic impacts, and community impacts. We’re focused on the attraction and retention of business and talent. We have a great economy for working here, manufacturing technology companies. And the best way to attract talent and them here is to have the kinds of infrastructure that the people who live here; right, we have a four season community, if you don’t like winter you’re not gonna stay. But we need that kind of infrastructure those kind of folks are looking for.” – Jeff Ratcliffe, Executive Director KEDA
Brad Barnett of the Keweenaw Convention and Visitor’s Bureau helped the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region office, KEDA, and the DNR to organize the meeting. He said the informal trail authority behind the project wants to gauge community interest to connect a 10 mile non motorized trail from Hancock to Lake Linden.
“[Ron] He used the word opportunity about eight or nine times. And I think most people in the room right now are here because they generally support non motorized recreation. And like the idea of a trail potentially coming to he community, connecting our communities together. But, you know, I can personally say I probably wouldn’t be in the Keweenaw running the [K]CVB right now, if it wasn’t for the trail that runs by our house outside of Dollar Bay.” – Brad Barnett, Director KCVB
For more information on what a Copper Country Heritage Trail system could look like reach out to one of the organizations listed here or other community leaders. Organizers are encouraging residents who want support for the a project reach as well. Or local leaders if you are interested in connecting the communities of Hancock to Lake Linden.
Please contact Jerry Wuorenmaa with WUPPDR if you wish to show interest in the Copper Country Heritage Trail System at wuppdr.org or by phone at 906-482-7205