Plans may soon be underway to begin the final phase of the Keweenaw Point Trail.
The Copper Harbor Trails Club is applying for a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and recently asked the Keweenaw County Board of Commissioners for a letter of support.
The trail will ultimately be a 30 mile hiking and mountain biking trail, allowing users to explore the rugged terrain around tip of the peninsula.
Completion of phase two, in the fall of 2017 earned the Trails Club the “Project of The Year Award” from the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce earlier this month, and the club is wasting no time getting started on the final stretch of trail.
“And now we’re looking towards phase three which would be to get all the way around the point, over to the mouth of the Montreal, and then back into Copper Harbor,” said Upper Peninsula Trails Coordinator Ron Yesney of the DNR, who says that phase two was funded entirely by fundraising efforts from the club.
Yesney said, “But phase 3 is a lot more expensive so you’re looking at a half a million dollar project, so there are some state monies that will go into that project. We already have a quarter or a fifth of the money secured. Now were looking to find other ways to compliment those grant dollars.”
The application is requesting $297,000 to help fund the final phase of the human powered trail.
The Trails Club has already raised $200,000 in local funds including a grant last year from the Recreational Trails Program that will be used to match the funds provided.
Yesney said, “The DNR is really proud to partner with organizations like this because you can develop a plan and it can collect dust on a shelf or somebody can take that ball and run with it, and I’m really proud of the community and the trails group for taking that plan and taking those objectives and putting them in play.”
The application will be submitted by the end of the week and construction of phase three could begin by the end of the year.
Currently the Keweenaw Point Trail is accessible to twelve miles of wilderness.
Phase three is the largest section of the trail that will add an additional 17 miles for riders and hikers.