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News from the Greater Munising Area: New projects and trail reports in Alger County this winter season

JAYMIE DEPEW "I hope for 2021 we are collectively inspired and healthy enough to not only improve ourselves but the communities we live in."

Alger County businesses are typically preparing for a busy snowmobile and ice climbing season this time of the year. However, with warmer winter conditions and the cancelation of large events like Michigan Ice Fest, the Trenary Outhouse Classic, and the Long Riders Relic Ride, our area – like many others – has seemed pretty quiet lately.

Although staff at the Alger County Chamber of Commerce/Greater Munising Bay Partnership and Munising Downtown Development Authority office are currently working remotely, we have been busier than ever. Phones are directly forwarded to staff and we take turns visiting the office and taking care of the mail. We also keep the red newsstand located to the right of the office’s front door filled with packets that contain our business directory, lodging guide, winter sport trail maps, and other helpful information that’s commonly asked about.

Other than that, we’ve been working on a couple of projects we’re looking forward to sharing with everyone.

A little over a month ago, our office teamed up with Michigan Works! to create a video highlighting Madigan’s Ace Hardware of Munising. The local hardware store, which last year celebrated its 100th year as a family-owned business, was nominated as the 2020 Employer of the Year by Michigan Works! and the Chamber, an achievement that’s usually awarded at the Chamber’s annual dinner.

Typically held in April, last year’s dinner was cancelled because… well, I’m sure you know. We then planned on awarding Madigan’s during this year’s dinner, but since we’re uncertain an in-person event that draws around at least 100 attendees will be possible in a few months, we went back to the drawing board. Footage for the video was filmed last week and will be released on the Chamber’s social media outlets and website in the near future.

Our office has also been meeting virtually with Mike Stockwell of Cranking Graphics to brainstorm three new murals that are slated to be installed around Munising in the spring. Each panel is Stockwell’s rendition of historical photographs our office obtained graciously from Duane Hargis of the Alger County Historical Society. Keep an eye on a future column and press release in the upcoming months for more details.

In the meantime, though, bring on the winter.

Even though it’s taken awhile, snow has descended upon our county, which encompasses the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Hiawatha National Forest, and now trail groomers finally have something to work with. Anyone wondering about trail or ice conditions are in luck as several local entities keep track, including:

Alger County Snowmobile & ORV Association (SORVA)

SORVA releases a detailed snowmobile trail report several days a week or more, which can be found online at www.algersorva.com/snowmobile-trail-report/

Pictured Rocks, Valley Spur, and Munising Bay Trail Network

Details on the silent sport trail systems throughout the county can be found on the PRNL, Valley Spur Trail System, Munising Bay Trail Networks’, and other Facebook pages.

Pictured Rocks: www.facebook.com/PicturedRocksNL

Valley Spur: www.facebook.com/valleyspur

MBTN: www.facebook.com/MunisingBayTrailNetwork

Ice Conditions

Down Wind Sports, which hosts Michigan Ice Fest – the annual ice climbing festival that takes place throughout the PRNL in February, publishes a blog that focuses on ice conditions and can be found at downwindsports.com/icefest/category/ice-conditions/.

The Eben Ice Caves even has a Facebook page where conditions are shared weekly. Find the page at: www.facebook.com/EbenIceCaves

Editor’s note: Jaymie Depew is the communications and special project assistant for the Alger County Chamber of Commerce/Greater Munising Bay Partnership for Commerce Development, Munising Downtown Development Authority and Munising Visitors Bureau.

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