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Probable closure of Trail No. 2 in Gogebic County would significantly impact western UP snowmobiling

A change of ownership at a western Upper Peninsula ski resort has resulted in the probable closure of an important stretch of snowmobile trail managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Gogebic Range Trail Authority in Gogebic County.

Snow River Mountain Resort (formerly Big Snow Resorts aka Indianhead and Blackjack) – part of Midwest Family Ski Resorts – announced in a Sept. 13 email the resort would no longer allow snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle operation on resort property. 

The closure would eliminate trail access between Wakefield and Ironwood, affecting the communities of Bessemer and Ironwood most directly.

Significant hurdles exist to finding a reroute, though DNR, community officials and the Gogebic Range Trail Authority are working hard to find a solution.

Among the obstacles to a reroute are the Black River, Plymouth Pit, large concentrations of private land holdings, and only high-traffic paved roadways heading east and west between Wakefield and Bessemer.

“We understand that property owners have the right to revoke access to their land,” said Ron Yesney, DNR Upper Peninsula trails coordinator. “Nearly 50% of our snowmobile trails are on private land, however, this particular closure puts snowmobiling opportunities and connectivity in the western U.P. in a tough spot.”

The DNR will continue to explore options for possible alternate routes and is willing to work with the Snow River Mountain Resort should they reconsider allowing snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles to cross their property.

Contact: Ron Yesney 906-228-6561 and Tim Novak, 517-331-5131