Following devastating summer flooding in Houghton County, Michigan, remediation of dozens of miles of recreational trails continues to take place as the Department of Natural Resources looks toward the Dec. 1 opening of the snowmobile season.
“Some trails will remain closed due to conditions,” said Ron Yesney, DNR Upper Peninsula trails coordinator in Marquette. “But there will still be plenty of places for ORV and snowmobile riders to enjoy the trails.
“The important thing is safety. While work is continuing, the public needs to be reminded not to breach gates or fences on trails. There are several large washouts on trails, some quite steep and deep.”
The bulk of the damage on the trails occurred in June when a major storm struck Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Father’s Day. A second strong storm followed on July 12. Houghton County was particularly hard hit, with more than 150 washouts over 60 miles of trails. The damage forced numerous trail closures.
The DNR and partnering agencies have worked to reopen several trail segments, though some trail closures remain in effect.
ORV trail closure updates include:
- Access to Houghton and across Portage Lift Bridge to the Keweenaw Peninsula remains limited. Access will be reopened next spring.
- The Freda route is closed.
- The Lake Linden route is closed.
- The Hancock to Calumet trail is open.
Snowmobile trail updates include:
- Trail No. 3 between Twin Lakes and Houghton will be open by Dec. 1. Access to the Keweenaw Peninsula will be established via trails No. 3 and No. 17.
- Several trails will be closed for the upcoming 2018-2019 snowmobile season, including trails No. 120, No. 121 and No. 3 between Dollar Bay and Lake Linden.
- The Houghton to Chassell rail-trail also is closed. This is not a designated snowmobile trail, but in past years has been open to snowmobiling.
Yesney re-emphasized concerns about safety, saying riders need to follow signs and avoid closed areas for their own safety. With so many deep washouts, riding in these places that are closed to riding will be dangerous.
“When trail users encounter a fence, gate or ‘trail closed’ sign on the trail system, they need to turn around,” Yesney said. “For the safety of everyone, please do not take signs down or go around the gates.”