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Sturgeon River Sloughs Wildlife Area to Receive New Bridge

Pristine wetlands, hundreds of birds and mammals, and a trail that connects two towns. Snowmobile trail #15 cuts straight through the Sturgeon River Sloughs Wildlife Area, and connects visitors from Chassell to Baraga. But one bridge stands in the way of the trail reopening. In 2019 following some flooding, the bridge was deemed by the DNR to be a hazard, closing of Trail #15 for the past two years. The DNR plans to rebuild a new bridge in it’s place over the Arnheim Ditch. Jeff Kakuk, DNR Trail Specialist, say that the project is one of two in the area.

We have this project here, which currently the local snowmobile club is providing the funding for a survey. And that information will be shared with the Wildlife Department for the actual engineering and construction.

DNR Wildlife Biologist, John DePue, is well versed in the ecosystems of the Keweenaw Peninsula. And the Sloughs Wildlife Area is very unique considering all the forests in the region. The sturgeon River Sloughs is over 1000 acres of pristine wetlands, and is home to a large variety of animals and plant life. And because of the bridge crossing the Arnheim Ditch being out, work on that side has been difficult to get too.

So on the other side of the bridge we have several units that we manage typically. But without having the bridge its difficult to get our equipment over the Arnheim Ditch to work on them and do maintenance type of things.

Snowmobile Trail #15 will remain closed this season. And if building material shortages across the country continue, the project to replace the bridge will take longer. Currently the DNR is looking into contracts for the bridge to start construction, and hope that work will begin sooner rather than later.

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