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TNC reopens road to Clark Mine

GRANT TOWNSHIP — After restricting vehicle usage of the Clark Mine road for several months due to heavy traffic, The Nature Conservancy on Nov. 1 opened the gates, which will remain open throughout the deer hunting and snowmobile seasons. Regular firearm deer hunting season annually begins runs from Nov. 15 to Nov. 30. According to uptravel.com, snowmobile season runs from December 1 through March 31.

The Clark Mine trail, from near Estivant Pines to its eastern terminus at the Mandan Loop Road, had been closed to full-size vehicles, campers, and heavy trucks during peak visitor season to reduce impact on the trail and increase user safety. The road was limited to ORV and ATV usage, said Rich Bowman, director of policy for TNC, in Lansing. Several other factors led to the decision to limit road usage, included the cost of maintaining the road as well as safety considerations of ORV users.

Bowman said that until the Clark Mine road was restricted earlier this year, there were no trails or roads dedicated to ATV and ORV users.

TNC stated earlier this year that the road had seen increasingly heavy usage of cars and pickup trucks, which compelled TNC to curtail their usage of the road. According to data collected by TNC from counters along the road, usage had increased to as many as 200 vehicles per day accessed by the nearby Manganese Road.

TNC also announced a Heartlands Update public meeting on November 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Allouez Township Community Center located at 338 Bumbletown Road in Allouez. TNC and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are hosting the meeting, which will include discussions on updates on land management, the Heartlands inventory project, and the next steps in establishment of a local governance model. The public is encouraged to attend and is welcome to ask questions and provide feedback.

Currently, TNC requests that residents who use Heartland roads and trails throughout the fall and winter to follow “Leave No Trace” principles. These include taking out whatever residents bring into the Heartlands.

Camping is not allowed on any TNC-owned land, and neither are fires. Hunters are also prohibited from setting up permanent deer blinds. Vehicles and snowmobiles should remain on designated trails.

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