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Erosion mitigation will enhance trail

One of the most popular places to hike and bike in the region is the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, with a particularly scenic section — although this is a subjective observation — being the section leading from the city of Marquette to the Michigan Welcome Center in Harvey.

Fortunately for local recreationists, the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority has contracted A. Lindberg & Sons, Inc., to repair and stabilize five areas of a one-mile-long paved portion along this stretch of the trail.

The project is expected to take five weeks, so trail users are cautioned to expect closures and trail reroutes as the work, which includes the use of heavy equipment to carry big boulders, is underway.

These short-term inconveniences will be worth the wait. High Lake Superior water levels and strong storms producing 15-foot waves have eroded the shorelines and slopes. This has made for a damaged section of trail.

The IOHRA’s goal is to protect the trail and infrastructure along what it called a heavily used section.

That’s understandable. The paved section also is part of the Iron Belle Trail, the North Country National Scenic Trail, the Marquette Multi-Use Path and the state’s interconnected snowmobile trail.

What makes this section unique, apart from the wildflowers and other plants that grow along the trail, is that it runs along Lake Superior. That’s almost always a bonus.

Trail erosion is a hazard and damages the environment. Undertaking a project such as this, which involves funds from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Chocolay Township and the city of Marquette, will minimize this problem to make traveling along this part of trail much safer and more scenic.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy as well as the Army Corps of Engineers also are to be commended to helping get the permits in place.

Work will consist of installing filter fabric and crushed rock to reinforce existing rock slopes, placing large boulders from the bottom to the top o the slope and following with topsoil, seed, fertilizer and mulch.

When the project is finished, the Iron Ore Heritage Trail will that much better for it.

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