Archive for the ‘News & Events’ Category
In August of 2010, seven municipalities along the proposed Iron ORe Heritage Trail passed a new millage for 2/10th for six years to help the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority (IOHRA) “build, manage and maintain the Iron Ore Heritage Trail. The trail is a 47-mile linear route stretching across the Marquette Iron Range from Chocolay Township in the eastern part to Republic township in the near western portion of Marquette County. Since that time, the IOHRA board, the one-person staff, the many volunteers, plus the State of Michigan have worked to make connections for people in our County to each other and to special places associated with our 160+ year iron mining heritage.
The 47-mile trail is now in the public hands and is forever secure for the public’s use. The entire 47 miles are available for walkers and those pedaling fat tire bikes; 35 miles are available for those on hybrid and road bikes, 15 miles are available for inline skaters and boarders, 15 miles (with six more to come shortly) are opened up to ORV’s (through State ORV route program) and 15 miles are available for equestrians.
Fishing piers, overlooks, bridges, and ledgeways have been built to keep the trail complete. Forty-seven unique Range Stories have been told, museums have been connected, interpretive artwork has been installed, trail events have blossomed, small businesses have opened while other local businesses have profited from grant dollars coming into this area, residents have discovered new spaces and places, and kids have a safe place to get on their bikes.
The IOHRA board continues to look for ways to improve the trail through continued story telling, more trail connections (to Schwemwood Park, Lions Field in Chocolay, Cliffs Shaft, single track trails, etc), maintenance of existing trails, trail surfacing upgrades, artwork, interpretation, and providing a climate for local businesses to thrive.
So our Board has decided to ask for a renewal of this millage on August 2, 2016, which would run from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2022.
It is up to the voters in these seven communities if they will continue to support the project.
The Iron Ore Heritage Trail and its Administrator, Carol Fulsher, were recently recognized at the Midwest American Trails and Greenways Conference (MATAG) in Des Moines, Iowa as Michigan’s Trail Project and Trail Person. At each MATAG Conference, held every other year, each State is encouraged to recognize the tremendous contributions of volunteers, professionals, and other leaders who are working to create a dynamic system of trails across the Midwest.
The Iron Ore Heritage Trail was awarded outstanding Trail Project because of the “trail’s artfully designed trailheads, mile markers, kiosks, and other trailside historical items have made this an iconic trail for the State of Michigan. Marquette has long been known for its mountain biking and cross-country ski trails; however, the addition of this spectacular rail-trail has branded Marquette as a sought-after trail hub. The trails have brought so much attention to the area that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is basing their new online trails portal featuring all the trails of Marquette County as a demonstration site”.
Carol Fulsher, its administrator, was awarded outstanding person because of her “overall effective leadership, including coordination, advocacy, technical assistance and fundraising. She guided the local governments along the trail route in forming the Iron Ore Heritage Trail Recreation Authority and successfully coordinated a campaign to start a millage to help fund the development and maintenance of the trail. She successfully worked with the Michigan Historical Center to develop trail features with history interpretation in mind, telling of the critical importance of the iron mining industry in that part of the state. Every kiosk, mile marker, and sign along the route represents this past in an iconic way.”
“I was stunned to learn that we won these awards this year,” commented Carol Fulsher, Administrator for the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority. “I work with a very committed board of directors who use their skills to build this trail. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by their talents and perseverance. We want to continue building a one-of-a-kind trail that is an asset to the people of Marquette County and the State of Michigan and allows all users somewhere to partake in their sport and mode of alternative transportation. We thank MTGA and the DNR for their recognition of our work.”
Negaunee Township – Users of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail will be treated to a new functional and interpretive art installation underneath the LS&I trestle in Negaunee Township. The painted mural depicts miners, methods and tools from the earliest days of mining on the Marquette Iron Range, ca 1850’s. It is adhered to steel framing and functions to keep the iron ore pellets on the southern hillside from rolling onto the trail.
Awarded a $10,000 grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, with a portion coming from the National Endowment for the Arts, the IOHRA requested Artist proposals for a unique way to provide interpretation of mining and the transportation of ore while stopping pellets from rolling on to the trail underneath the LS&I trestle.
Mike Lempinen’s proposal was chosen earlier this year. Since February, he has been working on his mural using the Jackson Mine as his backdrop for that era of mining. He drew and painted his mural on canvas stretching 12 feet. Mr. Jim Martin, a photographer at Ben Franklin, photographed the mural in high quality digital format. The photograph was then sent to Signs Now who printed the photograph onto vinyl and adhered to a substrate. That substrate was then be adhered to a steel sheet provided by Rick Kauppila of U.P. Fabricating.
“We have always taken the interpretation of this trail seriously. When we found we were having problems with pellets rolling onto the trail from the southern hill, we wanted to fix the problem creatively. In this location we are underneath the active LS&I railroad while we are following the old rail grade so we wanted to interpret the various means of moving ore from picking it out of rock to moving it along plank roads and railroads,” said Carol Fulsher, Administrator for the IOHRA. “We believe this will be a show piece for the trail. It’s absolutely stunning.”
Mike Lempinen, added, “I really was humbled to be chosen for this project and researched the early miners, especially those who worked in the Jackson Mine. I’m fascinated by this industry and its evolution and wanted to pay homage to the hard and dangerous work of moving ore. I visited various museums, used models for posing so I’d get the positioning of bodies correctly and read a lot about the plank road and the various railroads. This is truly been a labor of love.”
Two point-to-point events are slated to be held on the Iron Ore Heritage Trail in the summer of 2014. First, a new event entitled the Iron Range Roll, will use the trail from Ishpeming to Marquette on June 7, National Trails Day. Runners and bikers will begin at the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum and run/bike to the Marquette Commons. Bikers take off first and ride (timed but fun) to Marquette. Runners have the option of running the entire 16 miles or being a part of a relay. This event is sponsored by the 40 Below Group and proceeds go to the YMCA’s “Reach and Rise” youth mentoring program. Fore more information and to register, visit www.ironrangeroll.com.
The other event, the Marquette Marathon, used to take place on the multi-use paths around Marquette. This year the half marathon will begin at the Michigan Iron Industry Musuem and run into Marquette on the Heritage Trail and finish at the corner of 3rd and Michigan Streets in Marquette. The full marathon begins at the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum in Ishpeming. Runners will follow the Iron Ore Heritage Trail into Marquette and end at the same spot as the half marathon. The trail features a downhill slope and is a Boston Marathon qualifier. For more information and to register, visit www.marquettemarathon.com