Opening of trail section a major milestone

Congratulations to all those involved with the recent Iron Ore Heritage Trail’s ribbon-cutting ceremony in Negaunee. Clearly, a significant milestone for the 47-mile trail’s development was at hand with a crowd packed with local dignitaries, residents and others -some even sitting and watching on horseback and bicycles- and prominent well-wishers on the speaker’s stand including U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, Gov. Rick Snyder, state Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette, Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, Marquette Mayor Johnny DePetro, Negaunee Mayor Richard Wills, Marquette Township Supervisor Dennis Liimatta and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh.

Several of the speakers lauded deserved praises on the efforts of the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority and its administrator Carol Fulsher.

Fulsher was moved almost to tears saying she didn’t think the day would ever arrive.

“We’re cutting the ribbon on what we call ‘Phase Three’ of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail,” Fulsher told The Mining Journal. “It’s a 12-mile trail that connects Negaunee and Marquette. It’s an important piece, because we had about five miles of paved trail in Ishpeming and Negaunee and we had about 10 miles of paved trail between Harvey and Marquette, but the two didn’t link up.

“So we needed that connecting piece to start marketing this trail, and of course to start getting people back and forth between the two big population centers in the Upper Peninsula.”

That newest 12-mile section of trail cost about $2 million and runs from Old Town park in Negaunee and comes into Marquette at the Soo Line bridge, behind the Holiday Inn.

Snyder said the event was a historic occasion.

“It’s about both looking to history, looking back, and to look forward. I love the concept of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, because that’s something that we should all be proud of,” Snyder said.

We agree. There are many diverse aspects of the trail and its development that have combined to create a sensational endeavor -from the recreation and health aspects, to the cooperation between local governments and the support of voters for trail millage to the educational interpretive displays and the fun of riding or walking the beautiful trail.

We, too, celebrate this milestone and look forward to the continued development of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail and its inclusion in the wider effort to develop a statewide trail from Belle Isle to Ironwood.