NTN Year in Review Summer 2014

What do you think of when the Noquemanon Trail Network is mentioned? Snow? Ski Marathon? Winter? Well, it’s not just a winter organization anymore.

Although some of us called the summer of 2014 the “summer that wasn’t”, the mountain biking team of the NTN was hard at work in the forests around Marquette. A new trail was built near the Carp River in the South Trails System, aptly named “Carp-EH-diem”. In the northern section, near the Board of Light and Power off of Wright St., an extension of the wildly popular Collinsville Trail was constructed.

The inaugural Marquette Trail Festival took place in June offering biking, hiking, adult and children’s activities along with bonfires and socialization. The 2015 Trail Festival promises to be even better.

A new partnership with the west end’s Range Area Mountain Biking Association resulted in the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) naming Marquette County a Bronze level Ride Center. This is a big deal for Marquette in that the recognition certifies Marquette as an exemplary mountain biking destination with trails for all rider types. Communities having these designations report a large increase in tourists seeking high quality biking experiences.

None of these milestones could have been accomplished without sponsors, grants, donors and memberships along with hundreds of volunteer hours. NTN receives no governmental funding and relies on grass roots-member support for sustainability.

The economic benefit NTN brings to the region is undeniable with more than 1000 members, 4000 event participants and leadership in the fast growing silent sport-outdoor recreation tourism arena.

The leaves are falling and the first few flakes have been spotted so for some of us the best time of the year is here. A UP winter can be dark, depressing and uncomfortable unless you challenge the weather with vim and vigor. The cool air and smooth glide of an afternoon cross country ski can be just what the doctor ordered. The NTN trail system manages more than 100 kilometers of expertly groomed ski trails for the classic and skate technique. The flagship trail off of the Forestville Rd in Marquette Township runs from CR 510 in Negaunee Township to the Marquette Tourist Park in the City of Marquette (approximately 21 kilometers). The trailhead facility in Forestville provides ample parking, a warming facility, bathrooms and a trail host to guide you to the best terrain for your ability. The Fit Strip in the City of Marquette is a local jewel developed in 1980 and is nurtured by an all volunteer grooming crew. In Powell Township the “classic only” Big Bay Pathway boasts some of the most scenic trails in the system. Saux Head is another NTN secret with a feeling of having the place to your-self located off of CR 550 at Saux Head Lake Rd. Other NTN trail affiliates include Valley Spur in the Hiawatha National forest and Al Quaal in Ishpeming.

Don’t forget the newest sport in the NTN family: fat tire biking. These specially designed bikes can be used summer and winter. Groomed trails for bikes and snowshoes are maintained on selected trails in the South Trail system. Check it out.

NTN has developed dog friendly trails for canines who are good citizens, to join their “human” on a ski through the beauty of the trails. So don’t just hunker down for a long winter’s nap, get out and embrace winter and the gorgeous trails of the Noquemanon Trail Network. Go to the website at www.noquetrails.org for more information.

Written by LNW