Canyon Falls Boardwalk gets $50K as part of Iron Belle Trail funding

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette A section of boardwalk is seen leading to Canyon Falls in Baraga County. The North Country Trail Association received $50,000 for construction of boardwalk along the trails through funding for the state’s Iron Belle Trail.

CANYON FALLS — A Baraga County project is among those receiving funding this year as part of a public-private partnership to complete the state’s 2,000-mile Iron Belle Trail.

The North Country Trail Association got $50,000 for construction on the Canyon Falls Boardwalk, located south of Alberta. The project will replace existing structures along the trail route leading to the falls, said Kenny Wawsczyk, regional trail coordinator for the NCTA.

About 700 feet of Type 3 puncheon and boardwalk will be built. Short sections will be added to make the trail more sustainable, reduce ecological damage and improve hiker safety and the overall experience, Wawsczyk said.

“There is existing puncheon and boardwalk currently built but the material is decaying and becoming a hazard for the users,” he said.

Ground contact and moisture have eroded the current structure. Unlike the current structures, the new one will have pressure treatment for all materials making contact with the ground.

More than $1.4 million in grants were awarded this year, the most since the minigrants began in 2015. The more than 25 projects will fill in gaps on the Iron Belle Trail, now about 70% complete. It includes two sections: a hiking route that follows the North Country National Scenic Trail in western Michigan, and an 800-mile bike trail from Ironwood to Belle Isle in Detroit.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources provided $815,884, with another $650,000 coming from the private Iron Belle Trail Fund. Those grants will leverage $3 million in matching funds.

Previous grant cycles have included funding for replacing the Bush Creek Bridge in the Ottawa National Forest and informational panels at NCTA trailheads in Ontonagon County.

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