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Tech Trails effort moves forward: Project awarded Great Lakes Sports Commission grant

From left, Michigan Tech Senior Associate Athletic Director Joel Isaacson, 110th District State Representative Greg Markkanen, Michigan Tech Athletic Director Suzanne Sanregret, Great Lakes Sports Commission Board Chair Doug Luciani, Michigan Tech Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement William Roberts and Kevin Korpi, executive director at Acuitas LLC., are seen on Oct. 15 during a tour of the Tech Trails. (Courtesy photo)

HOUGHTON — The Great Lakes Sports Commission has awarded $150,000 in grant funding for infrastructure development at the Tech Trails.

The construction of a multi-functional, community lodge at the trailhead has been a goal of Michigan Tech Director of Athletics Suzanne Sanregret, officials said in a news release.

“The Great Lakes Sports Commission plays a critical role in helping to promote our northern region as a premier destination for championship level athletic competitions–especially as they relate to cross-country skiing, cross country running, and mountain biking,” Sanregret said in a news release. “Generous funding from the commission makes access to success for athletes at all ages and levels possible.”

The $150,000 from the GLSC will be used to initiate the first phase of the Tech Trail lodge project.

Funding from the commission will cover a one-time expense to run water and sewage to the location by connecting to the existing city of Houghton and Michigan Tech water mains, and the Michigan Tech sewer collecting system.

“This grant is a wonderful jump start to a great project by Michigan Tech to help promote cross country skiing, snowshoeing and fat-tire biking. I would like to thank the Great Lakes Sports Commission for funding this phase of the project,” 110th District State Representative Greg Markkanen, R – Hancock, said in the release.

The Tech Trail system is part of a larger trail system, which “provides world-class mountain biking that is recognized as part of northern Michigan’s world-renowned International Mountain Biking Association trail system,” officials said in the release. The trails also support a base of more than 700 Nordic skiers and a number of ski organizations.

“Great Lakes Sports Commission is proud to be able to support this investment. This project fits perfectly with our mission statement and will have a substantial impact on the local community and economy,” GLSC Board Chair, Doug Luciani, said in the release.

MTU Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement William Roberts said the university and the entire community is appreciative of the support.

“Michigan Tech would like to thank the Great Lakes Sports Commission for their support for the trails project. We are grateful for this investment into the university and the community,” he said in the release.

To date, Michigan Tech has hosted five U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships which brought potential Olympians and some of the top U-18 boys and girls in the country. Competitions that are among the highest levels one can experience in this sport. Michigan Tech had been awarded the 2021 championships which have since been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 200 experienced volunteers provide the various support and communications necessary to fulfill staffing requirements for the major ski events. The university also routinely hosts athletics events with more than 3,000 spectators.

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