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Calumet area increasing trail systems

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Executive Director of Main Street Calumet, and Chairwoman of the village’s Downtowm Development Authority, Leah Polzien, announced an open house for Calumet Trails Planning, to provide public information and receive comments, on a program to expand trails around Calumet Township.

CALUMET TOWNSHIP — The public is invited to participate in an open house for Calumet Area Trails Planning on Tuesday, Oct. 8 from 4-7 p.m. at the Keweenaw National Historical Park Headquarters at 25970 Red Jacket Road, Calumet.

Increasing access and connectivity of trails in the Calumet area is the goal of several municipalities, agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations, according Executive Director of Main Street Calumet, Leah Polzien.

Representatives of the organizations and municipalities have applied to the National Park Service, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program for technical assistance in planning a cohesive trail system around and through Calumet Township and the villages of Calumet and Laurium, stated Polzien in a release. A broad-based partnership has been formed to direct the project.

Project partners include Main Street Calumet, Inc., the village of Calumet, Calumet Township, the village of Laurium, Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau, Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WPPDR), Keweenaw National Historical Park, Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA), Swedetown Trails Club, Keweenaw ATV Club, Michigan Technological University Geospatial Research Facility, Keweenaw Snowmobile Club and local businesses.

The partners have been meeting since March to develop a foundation for planning. The team has created a map of the area’s motorized and non-motorized trails, and has begun to identify general issues and locations to improve access and enhance connectivity. Open spaces, outdoor recreation sites, and key landmark historic sites will be included on the map.

“We’re looking forward to engaging the community,” Polzien is quoted as saying, “to find out more about how people are using the current trails, routes and pathways, what issues they encounter and what ideas they might have about how to improve what already exists.”

The group, she stated, will be requesting information not just on recreational trail use, but utilitarian routes as well, such as paths taken during commutes or non-motorized trips to the grocery store.

The project team will compile recommendations from the public and other stakeholders into a Calumet Area Trails Action Agenda. This report, targeted for 2020, will include a unified trail concept plan (map) and steps for partnerships to enhance and promote the trail system.

(Studies) have shown (that trails) favorably impact a community’s quality of life and economy. The studies prove a link between trail use, increased physical activity among all ages, and personal and public health benefits. Community trail systems have proven to be a strong driver in bringing new business and economic life to American cities, towns, and communities. Project partners believe the initiative will increase patronage of downtown businesses by trail users and improve access to the area’s historical features and recreational assets for area youth.

Questions about this project can be directed to Leah Polzien, Executive Director of Main Street Calumet via email at leah@mainstreetcalumet.com or by calling (906)337-6246. Main Street Calumet is a 501c3 nonprofit organization focused on historical preservation and economic revitalization in Calumet. More information about the organization can be found at www.mainstreetcalumet.com.

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