NPS awards trail funding in Calumet Township

Calumet Township photo Municipalities throughout Calumet Township enjoy an extensive trail system, due in part to the former Calumet and Hecla Mining Companies, Calumet and Torch Lake Railroad, which until the 1960s, connected its mines between Osceola Township and Keweenaw County.

CALUMET — Several local municipalities and nonprofit organizations have received a grant from the National Park Service, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program to provide technical assistance for planning a cohesive trail corridor through Calumet Township, village of Calumet, and village of Laurium, according to a release from Main Street Calumet.

Initial project partners include Main Street Calumet, village of Calumet, Calumet Township, Laurium, Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau (KCVB), Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR) and the Keweenaw National Historical Park (KNHP).

Aarea stakeholders, including the public, are expected to participate as the process evolves.

“Recreation is a powerful driver in the tourism economy and an important factor when people choose where they want to live,” said Main Street Calumet executive director Leah Polzien. “Our project partners realize Calumet has great assets in our extensive network of trails and historical features, and we want to make sure we’re taking full advantage of these resources for our current residents to enjoy, as well as to attract visitors and new residents to our community.”

This grant will bring the expertise of a RTCA team to help identify a way to link current trail systems together, suggest cohesive signage that will direct people to the trail, as well as to downtowns and suggest some physical changes that may be necessary for improved access. For example, certain areas of trails could benefit from physical alterations to that trail to make them wider to allow for a row of trees or other barrier to separate motorized from non-motorized traffic.

While the grant is only for technical support to develop a plan for a local trail system, RTCA works to help communities secure funding to execute the projects. Planning work for this project is anticipated to begin within the next 60 days.

This project will require input from community members and stakeholder groups and could be a catalyst in working together and to improving the ability of the participating communities to take on additional projects in the future, Polzien said.

Integrating Calumet Township-area trails with other regional trail systems might be a possible next step, said Polzien.

She said the project team hopes the initiative will also increase patronage of downtown businesses by trail users and improve access to the area’s historical features and recreational assets for area youth.

Local officials have previously expressed hope convenient access to local recreational assets will make the Calumet area a more desirable place to live and visit generating positive economic growth for the community.

Questions about this project can be directed to Polzien via email at leah@mainstreetcalumet.com or by calling 337-6246.

Main Street Calumet is a 501c3 nonprofit organization focused on historical preservation and economic revitalization in Calumet.

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