MARQUETTE - The Noquemanon Trail Network is encouraging use of its trail system this winter by skijourers and snow bikers.
"The NTN has been working on creative ways to encourage people out on the trails to enjoy one of the gems of Marquette County," Director of Operations Nicole Dewald said in a news release. "Skijourers and snow bikers will be able to enjoy designated trails at the Forestville Trail system with the purchase of an NTN membership."
Dewald said skijoring is not new to the trail system.
"But its popularity is growing in our dog-friendly community," Dewald said. "Skijoring is accomplished when one or two dogs pull a cross-country skier."
A snow bike is specially designed with tires that are 3.8-4.5 inches wide to float on snow or soft sand surfaces.
Dewald said the trail network will continue to cater to Nordic skiers, creating designated snow bike, dog and skijor trails. Snow bikers will be able to ride the un-groomed trails of South Marquette and the groomed Noquemanon trails that are dog-friendly. Skijor teams will be permitted on dog-friendly trails as they have been in the past.
There are some guidelines for trail etiquette in place trail network officials want users of the trail to be aware of:
For snow bikes:
Rims start at 65 mm wide and tires run on 10 psi or less.
To ride on the NTN trails front and rear tires need to be at a 3.5 width or more, no mountain bikes will be allowed on trails because they will create deep ruts in the groomed surface.
Snow bikes will be allowed on trails only when the temperatures are cold enough to sustain the groomed trail. Early in the season, the snow will be soft. Riders need to be aware of the depth of their tire grooves. If the groove is one inch or more, air pressure should be reduced or consider riding another day.
Bike helmets are recommended to be worn by riders and headlights during the evening hours.
Doggy Trail Pass required for all dogs: $1 per day or $10 for a season pass. Humans must purchase a day pass or seasonal membership pass.
Dogs are allowed on designated trails only: Animoosh, Noque (Grand Central Station to Marquette County Road 510, and Forestville Trailhead to Tourist Park), Waaban, GooKooKoo and Mukwa. These are identified on the trails by a blue dog symbol next to the trail name.
Remove feces from public areas and trails.
Keep the dogs under control. Be able to stop your dogs within a reasonable distance.
Be certain your dogs do not hinder the movement of other skiers. Please discourage your dog from approaching other skiers. Be sensitive to the fact some people have allergies or are afraid of animals.
For general use:
Be courteous to other trail users. When approaching another skier from behind, call "trail" and "on your right, or left." If being passed, move to one side.
Dewald said that, "By following these guidelines and trail etiquette, we'll keep users safe and smiling while enjoying the trails."
The trail network will also feature upcoming races with snow biking and skijoring in January.
The Marquette General Health System Noquemanon Ski Marathon is introducing the "Wild Side of the Noque" Jan. 29.
"We would like to showcase the Marquette General Cancer Center, an affiliate of the McLaren Cancer Institute World Championship Snow Bike 25K and the Animoosh Skijor 12K," Dewald said.
Registration for both races is ongoing and starts at $30 by Dec. 31; $35 by Jan 27 and $40 by Jan 28. All registered participants will receive a metal MGHS Noquemanon water bottle. Registration online is available at www.noquemanon.com.
Some details on the races:
Animoosh Skijor 12K Race: 10 a.m. Forestville start. Sponsored by McLaren Cancer Institute and Dr. Tim's Pet Food. Teams sent out in 30 second intervals. Cap of 50 teams. Male and female divisions with one and two dog options. Two overall male and female winners.
World Championship Snow Bike 25K Race: 10:40 a.m. Forestville start. Sponsored by McLaren Cancer Institute. Mass start. Open to fat bikes and mountain bikes. Age groups: 25 and under, 26-39, 40-59, 60 plus. Male and female divisions. Two overall male and female winners.
Packet pickup will be available on Jan. 27 at the Ski Expo and on race day, 8:30 a.m. at the start line. Awards with custom cowbells will be held at the finish line around 12:45 p.m. A bike corral will be available and buses will be offered to bring racers back up to the start. No dogs on buses.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.