Anyone who enjoys the outdoors in the Marquette area is well aware of the wonderful hiking opportunities that abound.
There are a wide variety of trails, as well, with everything from paved pathways that offer young and old the chance to take a leisurely walk to rugged backwoods trails that challenge even the hardiest of hikers.
One of the hallmark venues for hikers is the North Country Trail, which includes a section that runs the breadth of Marquette County, including through the city of Marquette.
Responsible for maintenance of the NCT section that traverses the county, as well as portions in Alger and Baraga counties, is the local North Country Trail Hikers group.
This group, which is a chapter of the national North Country Trail Association, has worked hard for many years to make the NCT in the area the best it can be.
The chapter has taken on another task, as well, one that could shed the limelight on the trails in the Marquette area.
The group is working with the national organization to have Marquette labeled a "Trail Town," a move that would put the city on the hikers map and have the potential of drawing more long-distance foot-travelers to the area.
These visitors will need to take a break during their long treks on the NCT, which runs 4,600 miles from New York state to North Dakota. Knowing that Marquette is a Trail Town will inform these hikers that they can procure what they need during their visit, which could include lodging for a break from the trail, a good meal in a restaurant, groceries or simply to wash their clothes.
Lorana Jinkerson, president of the NCT Hikers and a member of NCTA board of directors, pitched the Trail Town idea to the Marquette Parks and Recreation Advisory Board this week.
To achieve the designation, the city would have to partner with the local hikers group in the effort, and we hope the city jumps on board.