NOQUEMANON TRAIL NETWORK EXPANDS WITH PURCHASE OF SILENT SPORTS TRAIL EASEMENT AND 40 ACRE TRAILHEAD

Easement on Plum Creek land ensures permanent recreation access for thousands of residents and visitors

The Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN) today announced that it has purchased nearly 10 miles of silent sports trail easements plus a 40-acre parcel of land in Marquette County from Plum Creek Timber Company, thanks to funding awarded by the Eagle Mine Community Fund.

The 40-acre fee purchase, which surrounds the County Road 510 Trailhead, connects the trail easements including the Ore to Shore route and a bypass trail near the 23K mark to the 18K mark on the Noquemanon.  An additional easement was purchased from the trailhead land to the border of Plum Creek and Longyear land (approximately the 15K mark along the Noquemanon Trail Corridor).

“This purchase is a significant contribution to the community because it secures access of this major trail corridor that is utilized by thousands of non-motorized sport enthusiasts,” said Laurie Neldberg- Weesen, President of the NTN.

The trail section on the easement land is the primary cross-country ski trail system of the NTN, and is used by more than 1,000 members annually. In addition, the trail segment is home to some of the largest silent sport events in the United States, including these:

The Ore to Shore Mountain Bike Epic, held in August is the largest mass start Mountain Bike race in Michigan and is one of the 4 largest in the United States.  The O2S welcomes 2,500 mountain bikers to Marquette County every year.

  • The Noquemanon Ski Marathon is the third largest cross country ski marathon in the United States, held annually in January.  This event welcomes over 1,500 participants to Marquette County every year.

According to NTN, these two events generate over $2.5 million of annual economic impact to Marquette County.

“This trail system has become a major driver of economic impact to the area,” said Jon Mommaerts.  “It is the base of Marquette County’s silent sports tourism and a tool to create population growth as more and more people choose to live in an area that has many high quality silent sport opportunities.”

The Plum Creek land surrounding the easement will continue to serve as working forestland, contributing timber to meet the needs of the state’s forest products industry while also serving as important wildlife habitat for a variety of species.

“At Plum Creek, we recognize the special recreation value that our working forestlands offer,” said Charlie Becker, Plum Creek Senior Resource Manager. “We make every effort to be collaborative partners and help conserve exceptional land when we can, and we are pleased that this important trail system will forever be open for recreational enjoyment through this easement.”

Additional funds for the easement were awarded from the U.P Sustainable Forestland Wildlife fund, the Community Foundation of the Upper Peninsula and private donors.

The NTN’s goal is to continue to increase membership and usage of this trail corridor for as many users and user groups as possible. The organization plans to continue adding events that draw more tourists and create healthy fun lifestyles for Marquette County residents for the future.

The Noquemanon Trail Network is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization that promotes development of integrated, multi-use, non-motorized trails.  For more information on the NTN visit www.noquetrails.org.