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IOHRA seeking renewal of millage in 2022

July 13, 2022

DATED:      JULY 13, 2022

Marquette, MI –The Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority (IOHRA) is asking voters to renew the millage that funds the operations of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail (IOHT) in seven municipalities within Marquette County.  The renewal seeks .1970 mills for 6 years in the townships of Chocolay, Marquette, Negaunee and Tilden Townships and the cities of Marquette, Negaunee and Ishpeming. Most homeowners pay between $10 and $20 annually for the IOHT.

The IOHRA has been building, managing, maintaining, and interpreting along the Heritage Trail since 2008. We have brought in $6M in Federal, State, and private funds to pave and/or lay down bike aggregate, build restrooms, parking lots, viewing platforms, and fishing piers, and install locally produced benches, bike racks, interpretive and wayfinding signage, and artwork.

In 2010, residents of the cities of Marquette, Negaunee and Ishpeming along with the Townships of Chocolay, Marquette, Negaunee and Tilden, approved a .2 mill, 6-year millage to fund the Iron Ore Heritage Trail.  (Republic Township joined in 2011). In 2016 and 2017, all eight municipalities renewed the millage with overwhelming support.

“Our priority these past six years was to continue upgrading the surfacing of the trail, provide more amenities for users including weather shelters, viewing platforms, fishing access, and parking areas. We have also continued telling the Marquette Iron Range people and places stories through our iconic, recycled rail interpretive signs and provided unique trail destination sites including the Carp River kiln restoration node, the Negaunee Mine site, and the Pine Hill Pond site,” noted Carol Fulsher, Administrator of the IOHRA.  “As an Authority, we are able to tap into State grant funds that non-profits can not access. This has allowed us to use these funds for development while using our local tax dollars for maintenance.  We have just finished a $100,000 asphalt repair project along 7 miles of trail, upgraded the bike aggregate in Republic, will be upgrading the Tilden Township aggregate in August, and continue doing major projects like erosion control, culvert maintenance, mowing, sweeping, tree cutting and bench and fence repairs.”

Future plans for the IOHT include a new five-mile, non-motorized trail extension to Lakenenland in Chocolay Township, a popular metal sculpture art park, providing a multi-use trailhead at Winthrop Junction, adding single track trails along the main route for fat tire and snow bike users, lighting along the Ishpeming/Negaunee connection for additional hours of winter time use, and more destination intepretive sites plus continued maintenance.

“We’d also like trail users to know we are a State ORV sponsor for the Negaunee to Republic ORV route. We have access to the State ORV funds provided by registration fees to shape and grade the trail annually, place gates to keep out full size vehicles, brush and sign,” added Don Britton, the Chair of the IOHRA. “Our board has been diligent in using our local funds to help leverage other funding opportunities to manage and maintain this long distance, multi-use trail we built. Ultimately, the voters have the say as to whether we have done a good job.”
For more information, contact Carol Fulsher at the IOHT at 906-235-2923.

Copy of IOHT Brochure