ISHPEMING - Hundreds of people flocked to Bell Hospital Thursday, but it wasn't because they were sick or injured.
Thursday marked the grand opening of the 1.1-mile fitness trail that now encircles the hospital's property.
Paved with wood chips, the trail provides a place for both hospital patients and employees and the general public to get out and exercise and includes seven exercise stations positioned around the path.
Raquel Randall, 15, of Negaunee High School, demonstrates a box jump at one of the seven fitness stations around the new Bell Hospital walking trail. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
"We've been working on it now for two years," said Dave Aro, vice president of operations and director of the Bell Foundation, which financed the trail. "People have been using it regularly."
Thursday's event drew 100 people within the first half hour and Aro said he expected to see between 300 and 400 people walking the trail throughout the evening.
Attendees ranging from families with young kids to couples to grandparents to individuals could be seen walking the trail, stopping at each of the seven fitness stations to learn how to properly use the equipment from Bell Wellness staff and see demonstrations by local high school students.
We've been working on it now for two years. People have been using it regularly.
- Dave Aro, vice president of operations, director, Bell Foundation
The stations include a warm-up station, a lower body station, a hill running endurance challenge, a functional training station, an upper body station an anaerobic challenge station and a total body conditioning station.
Already the trail is being used by local high school sports teams to gear up for the fall seasons.
"It's part of our health promotion," Aro said. "Having this trail is just another tool."
In addition to the trail, the foundation is also planning to erect a pavilion near the end of the trail that will also be available for public use.
The hospital has also been using the trail and the outdoor gym that serves as one of the stations for use with its wellness and training program.
Helping to finance the trail, which was constructed using a lot of volunteer labor, was a recent golf outing, which raised $70,000, Aro said.
The trail can be used year-round, with snowshoeing or cross country skiing available in the winter months.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.