Dear Members, Partners and Volunteers,
The DCNT organization has been actively involved with the development and enhancement of trail systems for public use in Delta County over the past two years. We wanted to take this opportunity to provide our members and volunteers with our first quarterly newsletter providing an overview of the organization activities.
Escanaba West Side Recreation Area
The DCNT is pleased to be involved with the City of Escanaba’s project to expand access to the West Side Recreation Area (WSRA). The approximate 1200-acre site, located west of North 30th and South of the Canadian National Railroad easement, supports numerous natural community types and associated plant and animal species. The WSRA site is traversed by approximately 7-miles of maintained cross country ski, mountain bike, and pedestrian trail, and 5-miles of snowshoe trail. Much of the trail system was only seasonally accessible, as it crosses expanses of wetland.
In 2020 the City undertook Phase 1 of a two phase project, to provide year round access to the WSRA through the construction of approximately 1,000 feet of boardwalk crossing wetland areas. Major funding for material for this project came from the local and national Rotary club grants and Hannahville two-percent grant. DCNT volunteers played a significant role in planning and construction of the boardwalk system. This phase of the project was gratefully accepted by the public, with numerous pedestrians accessing the site after completion.
Additional grant money from Rotary and the City of Escanaba has been acquired for Phase 2 of the boardwalk system, to be constructed in 2021. This work will entail constructing an additional, approximately 1,000 feet, of boardwalk, completing access to the WSRA via the trail system. Once again the DCNT will be providing many volunteer hours to construct the boardwalk. We heartily welcome all volunteers to this valuable endeavor.
Rapid River XC Ski Trails
We continue our official partnership with the National Forest Service to improve and maintain the XC ski trails at the Rapid River site in the Hiawatha Forest.
This season clearly exemplified the cooperative arrangement between the Hiawatha National Forest (HNF) personnel and DCNT volunteer trail groomers. The HNF met our needs for equipment to groom the ski trails; supplying the much needed second Scandix snowmobile, fuel, and other items. As well, the parking lot has been timely plowed whenever we have had a significant snowfall.
The accumulated snowfall has allowed us to present to the public a very nice set of groomed trails. This is best exemplified by the half to three fourths filled parking lot. The quality of the skiing conditions this season has been greatly improved by incorporating the Ginzu groomer. As well, the Delta Schoolcraft Intermediate School District welding program revamped the teeth carriage on the two Yellowstone drags, allowing for a better skiing surface. Thanks to the DCNT for funding this work.
Days River Pathway
Working in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the DCNT is coordinating the construction of 12 miles of single track trail at Day River Pathway site. In 2020, the DCNT funded and organized the building of approximately 3 ½ miles of the single track. In 2021, we will again take up building more single track by implementing, “We Dig Wednesdays” a volunteer work bee on selected Wednesday evenings, starting this spring. This year’s work will start with connecting the 3 ½ mile loop to the parking lot loop.
This past winter, DCNT volunteers groomed trails for cross country skiing, when feasible, and successfully conducted a free ski loaner for children event for the public, drawing approximately 20 local youth and parents to the event. We also groomed the constructed single track for snow bikes, and marked out a new snowshoe loop.
Days River Nature Trail
The Days River Nature Trail located East of Bay Shore Drive, just North of Kipling, traverses a very nice maturing pine, hemlock, and hardwood forest, abutting Days River to the South and Big Bay de Noc to the East. The DCNT proposes to improve access to the site through repair of the existing parking lot and strategic placement of boardwalk to cross seasonally wet areas along the trail system. The DCNT will be soliciting funding for the proposed project.
Aquatic Trails Committee members were trained to become asset editors to the Michigan Water Trails website, which allows us to update and add information about access sites and other resources along the Lake Michigan Water Trail through Delta County.
We encourage local paddlers to check out the Paddle Stewards program, which battles aquatic invasive species in Michigan by enlisting recreational paddlers to help identify and map invasive species along Michigan’s water trails. The training is currently done online to help reduce and manage invasive plant and animal species in our waterways.
The committee is making plans for spring and summer activities, such as group paddles and beach cleanups.
The Fundraising Committee continues to actively pursue new individual and corporate sponsorship. Many thanks to ongoing corporate partners: Andex Industries Inc., Upper Peninsula State Bank, the Dagenais Foundation, UP Ophthalmology, Hilltop RV Superstore and Bink’s Coca Cola. Special acknowledgement extended to the Escanaba Noon Kiwanis, the Escanaba Rotary and Rotary District 6220. Appreciation for previous support goes out to CUPPAD and the Weyerhaeuser Corporation.
In 2021, the Fundraising Committee is making a concerted effort to seek out available State of Michigan and foundation grants.
The DCNT membership currently stands at 45. Your membership and donations greatly help with our continued trail maintenance and activities such as “free ski” days and bike nights.
The DCNT appreciates your memberships and encourages your involvement with the organization. Please consider participating as a committee member or a project volunteer.
DCNT purchased a cargo trailer in order to house and maintain our collection of equipment, tools and cross country skis. You may begin to see our trailer at one of the trailheads as we coordinate work bees, upgrade or maintain the various pathways around our community.
Stay Tuned for Events
- We Dig Wednesdays
- Weekly Bike Night
- Group Canoe & Kayak Paddles
So, when time permits, go out and enjoy the trail systems that your membership supports, and tell a friend about the DCNT.
Trail User Survey
We have put together a trail user survey to get a better understanding of the types of activities and trails that are important to our community. Please take a couple minutes and fill out the survey. We appreciate your feedback!