New multi-purpose winter loop open at City Park trail

IRON MOUNTAIN – Efforts by a consortium of local businesses and organizations have created a new multi-purpose winter loop at Iron Mountain’s City Park Cross-Country Ski Trail.

Several local groups pooled there talents and funding to create a new Snowshoe Trail at the park.

The effort was led by the Menominee Range Nordic Ski Club Inc., a non-profit, which has operated the City Park Cross-Country Ski Trail for 25-years. Other groups involved included the city of Iron Mountain Recreational Committee, the Dickinson Area Community Foundation, Dickinson County Tourism Association and a local business-Mortl’s Sports.

“The idea for including a more narrow single track loop in the City Park Cross-Country Ski Trail system, was actually put forth by, now deceased, Dave Oliver, more than 20 years ago,” said Ski Club President John Nienstaedt. “I am proud to say we finally fulfilled Dave’s vision.”

“There has been a huge growth in outdoor winter activities,” said Ski Club Vice President and Dickinson County Bike Path Committee Vice President Kyle Lindstrom. “During the past decade, we’ve seen a big increase in the number of walkers, and snowshoers. Even the new fat-tire winter bicycling craze has begun locally.”

“All of these activities impact skiing conditions, but we finally decided – why not embrace this,” Nienstaedt said. “Most of us participate in multiple winter activities anyway.”

So, the need to develop a separate ‘Everything and Everybody Else’ trail loop was born.

“This is a growing trend seen at public and private trails throughout the U.P.,” Lindstrom said. “Providing a separate multi-purpose loop is a way to preserve great skiing, but also to make sure everybody has wintertime fun.”

The new multi-purpose snowshoe loop winds approximately 1-1/2 miles through City Park. It is marked at ski trail intersections and other key points.

It can be accessed at either the tennis court parking lot, or the cul-de-sac. Users are instructed to follow the snowshoer signs located along the loop, and to stay on the snowshoe trail.

Allowed winter activities on the multi-purpose loop, include snowshoeing, walking, dog walking, running, and bicycling.

Organizers indicate that trail highlights include the Paul Bunyan Pine, the Deer Pen, and passage through some of City Parks more secluded and wooded areas.

Planning for the trail was done in the spring of 2013. Necessary meetings were held with Iron Mountain’s City Manager and Recreational Committee.

City’s approval of the concept was granted in the fall of 2013. Trail construction took place in November and December.

Funding for the $1,000 project came from a variety of sources.

Tamara Juul, executive director of the Dickinson Area Community Foundation announced that the foundation provided $500 in mini-grants to fund the construction of a pedestrian bridge over a drainage ravine, which the trail crosses.

Another $250 received from Chris LaVigne, director of the Tourism Association of Dickinson County, provided funding for all trail signs, which were made locally at United Signs of Kingsford.

The remaining funding for sign posts and incidental construction materials, tool rentals, etc., was provided by contributions from Mortl’s Sports and the ski club membership.

“The Menominee Range Nordic Ski Club would like to thank all of the involved organizations for their commitment to this project,” Nienstaedt said. “We couldn’t have done this without their assistance.”

Those interested in pursuing funding for projects are encouraged to Juul at 774-3131. Chris LaVigne of the Tourism Association can be reached at 774-2945.