Noquemanon Trails Network (NTN) advocates for improved non-motorized options

May 30, 2014

As part of its mission, the Noquemanon Trails Network (NTN) advocates for improved non-motorized options for residents of the area and visitors from across the State of Michigan and beyond. It is the NTN’s position that the Michigan DNR, as a fellow ‘trail provider’ best serves the non-motorized trail community by developing a plan that includes sustainable funding sources for its trail offerings. This is especially true for high cost trails such as Nordic skiing sites, which have ongoing grooming expenses.

When asked by DNR representatives for input regarding a plan for sustainable funding for non-motorized trails, NTN recommended  that an appropriate dedicated trail pass fee, similar to the State of Michigan’s snowmobile trail pass, would secure the necessary funds to re-establish grooming services at many State operated sites where grooming has been discontinued due to funding cuts.  It is our understanding that the current source of funding from the Recreation Passport fee is a periodic distribution from a large non-dedicated pool of funds subject to discretionary cuts. Currently, this fund provides grooming to only 2 sites statewide leaving the vast majority of ski areas not groomed.

The birth of NTN in 2001 arose in large part from several years of inadequate State funding for grooming their Nordic trails. Since its inception, NTN members have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing trails and equipment to groom them. It is our hope that the DNR and NTN can work together to ensure the trails and related investments of both organizations are strengthened for the good of all non-motorized trail users.

 

This statement has been approved by the NTN Board of Directors.