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    AMF Staff Help Build Trail System

    There is no doubt that Baraga County in Michigan's Upper Peninsula offers some of the best scenery in the state.  However, the area lacks defined recreational trails for area residents and visitors to enjoy.

    To remedy this underutilization, Baraga Correctional Facility Sergeant Rich Wickstrom organized a group of community leaders and outdoor enthusiasts.  With the Baraga County Tourist and Recreation Center, Wickstrom formed a group called "Baraga County Trails in Motion."

    After attending meetings and gaining permission, Baraga County Trails in Motion members began marking and clearing trails in the L'Anse Township Park and Campground. The site is 90 acres and is currently used only as a summer time campground.  The trail initiative will enable the community to enjoy the park year round.

    The trails will be used primarily for mountain biking and hiking during the summer months, then snowshoe and cross country skiing during the winter.  A much needed safe sleigh hill for kids has been developed within the park, as well.

    Joe Bouchard, the Baraga Maximum Librarian, worked with Wickstrom and others in this initial phase. "Without question, it is hard work.  However, the first time I walked the trail in snow shoes, all of that melted away" said Bouchard.  "The beauty and serenity of the new trail is inspiring."

    Interest in an all-season recreational trail system is not limited just to individuals. Many groups look forward to the efforts of Trails in Motion.  Among them are: the local hospital, two school districts, local elementary gym and science teachers, and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth activity programs.  The group is now trying to develop a safe trail for area youth to travel to the park from the different neighborhoods.  In addition, Baraga County UP Whitetails plans to plant the trails with a wildlife mix that will attract area wildlife.

    The mission of the group is to identify outdoor activity trails already being used and develop new trails. Wickstrom says, "The best part of the whole project is that use of the park is free of charge and will provide the community with a way to enjoy the park during all seasons.  The group has already identified a few other areas in Baraga County to develop providing the community with identifiable trails to enjoy what Baraga County has to offer."

    For more information on trails throughout Michigan, please visit the Department of Natural Resources Web site at:

    http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10365_16839---,00.html

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