Winter 2023 Newsletter

Happy Holidays and welcome to 2023. We got a bit of snow for a few days and our volunteer groomers are actively monitoring the weather and trails to provide the best XC skiing and snowshoeing that Mother Nature will provide. The DCNT organization continues to develop and enhance trail systems for public use in Delta County and wanted to take this opportunity to provide members with an update since our public meeting.

We are always looking for motivated individuals willing to take a position on the DCNT board. If you are interested in becoming a board member, or officer, please contact Andy Claes at

West Side Recreation Area

The DCNT is pleased to have partnered with the City of Escanaba, Hannahville, Escanaba Rotary and national Rotary in the improvement and construction of approximately 2000 feet of boardwalk 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 nearly 7-miles of cross country ski, mountain bike, and pedestrian trail, and 5-miles of snowshoe trail. New permanent trail maps have been strategically placed to better aid users. The City of Escanaba maintains and grooms these trails.

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. The HNF continues to support our volunteers to groom the ski trails by supplying the use of Scandix snowmobiles, Ginzu groomer, fuel, and other items. Several projects were completed over the summer to improve water drainage and trail hardening in order to provide a better XC ski experience for this winter. The DCNT and HNF are in the process of planning additional improvements and an expansion of the XC ski trails to include an additional loop to the system. You may see new signs along the XC ski trail, as a fellow DCNT member and the Forest Service have constructed and replaced several. Thanks to Mark and Aaron! Several improvements are in the planning stage for the future to further improve and maintain the trail system.

Trail Days event will continue and is scheduled for January 21 (11:00 – 3:00) with an alternate date of January 28, depending upon the weather. In addition, we have partnered with the Superior Alliance for Independent Living to incorporate an Adaptive CX ski program at this event. This will allow people with disabilities to access the trail and develop XC ski skills utilizing specialized equipment.

Days River Pathway

Working in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) the DCNT funded and organized the building of approximately 3 ½ miles of the single track. Recently the DNR secured a $350,000 grant through MDOT Recreational Trails Program (RTP) to expand the system. AECOM Great Lakes, Inc. out of Grand Rapids is the primary consultant, and Rock Solid Trail Contracting, LLC out of Copper Harbor is the subcontracting consultant that will be performing the field design and trail layout. Initial field work has begun in order to layout and assess the topography. Finalization of the design will occur in the spring of 2023 with construction to begin in 2024. Federal bat protective regulations will prohibit some work during the summer and fall which is contributing to a later construction date. The DNR has also recently purchased a new utility vehicle to provide maintenance and grooming activities at the DRP.

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 Little Bay de Noc to the East. The DCNT in cooperation with the Michigan DNR, have developed plans 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 has secured grants from the Community Foundation for Delta County in the amount of $3000 along with a grant from the Upper Peninsula Sustainable Forest Wildlife Fund in the amount of $2000 to initiate the project. We anticipate construction of the boardwalks to begin in the spring and finish by fall. The DCNT is also working to conduct a second phase of improvements to include interpretive signage and repair of the kiosk at the trailhead. You will likely see additional information about the project and a call for volunteers sometime this spring.

Gladstone Sports Park

DCNT in partnership with the City of Gladstone, has constructed a bicycle pump track at the Gladstone Sports Park, behind the baseball diamonds. This 1/2 acre parcel is lined with crushed aggregate with rolling bumps and berms to allow for bike riding skill development. We are hoping to complete the project with natural stone signage consistent with the Disc Golf Park, sometime in the spring/summer 2023.

Additional Updates

Look for grooming updates and trail conduction on the Facebook page: Delta County Trail Users

As always we promote good trail etiquette.

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Dispose of waste properly
  • Take only photographs. Avoid damaging trees, plants, and leave natural objects.
  • Whether hiking, snowshoeing, biking, walking or XC skiing, stay on appropriate designated trails.
  • Be considerate of others.
  • Most trails require pets to be on a leash at all times.

Board of Directors, DCNTrails

Andy Claes, President

Hal Martin, Vice President

Marilyn Noble, Treasurer

Rick Elrod, Secretary

Mike Verhamme

Glenn VandeWater

Howie Wilson

Kel Smyth

Scott Brant

Darren Young