Portion of North Central State Trail will be re-routed for bridge replacement

Contact: Dana Pelton, 989-732-3541, ext. 5450 or Paige Perry, 989-732-3541, ext. 5086
Agency: Natural Resources

Little Black River bridge closure mapThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced today that, effective immediately, an approximately 1-mile stretch of the North Central State Trail (or Snowmobile Trail No. 9) between State Street and Old Mackinaw Road in Cheboygan County temporarily will be closed.

The bridge's deteriorating condition was exacerbated by above-average precipitation this past spring. After the deterioration became more visible, the DNR contracted with a professional bridge inspector to examine the structure, evaluate conditions and make a recommendation moving forward. The key substructure of the original timber rail bridge was determined to be rotten, twisted and undermined. On Nov. 2, the bridge inspector recommended, for the safety of everyone likely to use this route, that the bridge be closed until it can be repaired or replaced.

A 2.4-mile re-route will be signed between Western and Martha streets and will bypass the deteriorating bridge that extends over the Little Black River. The re-route has been approved by the city of Cheboygan and the Cheboygan County Road Commission. Although re-routing snowmobiles along city streets does not provide optimal riding conditions, it is the most viable way to bypass the closed bridge and still provide connectivity with the regional trail network. In the meantime, the DNR and the Cheboygan Trailblazers Snowmobile Club have been investigating other alternatives.

"Our first priority is the safety of everyone who travels this multiuse trail. Based on the thorough review by the inspector that identified real safety risks if the bridge remained open, we made the decision to close the bridge for now and offer an option that doesn't take people too far out of their way," said Paul Yauk, state trails coordinator for the DNR. “We are making every effort to replace this structure prior to next year's snowmobile season. The DNR asks for the public to respect the closure as the DNR and partners search for appropriate funding sources to replace the bridge and maintain this important river crossing."

The DNR asks snowmobilers to follow the signs, stay on the designated route and respect private property, driveways and mailboxes. Snowmobilers also are asked to help share the road with other vehicles and operate at a safe speed and manner.

Visit www.michigan.gov/dnrclosures to learn about additional closures and trail detours in DNR facilities, including state trails, boat launches, parks and campgrounds. Information on intermittent closures may not be posted. For more information about DNR trails please visit www.michigan.gov/dnrtrails.

For more information on this closure, contact Dana Pelton, DNR forest fire supervisor, 989-732-3541, ext. 5450 or peltond@michigan.gov. or Paige Perry, DNR trails specialist, at 989-732-3541, ext. 5086 or perryp@michigan.gov .

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

An accompanying map is available below for download.