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      Fundraiser held to keep trails clear

      People packed into Left Foot Charley to raise money for TART Trails.

      When you think about the TART Trail, you might think of taking a walk or bike ride in the summer. But the trails are still used when the snow flies.

      Crews are out clearing snow off the trails, but there's a cost involved.

      So who's responsible for clearing the trails? This is the third year TART has kept the trails clear, and the second year partnering with the city.

      Traverse City provides equipment, gas, and labor fees for TART volunteers to clear trails within the city. But when it comes to outlying trails, there's a $60-an-hour charge for using the city's machine.

      So far this season, TART volunteers have put in about 200 hours of work keeping the trails operational. That means they've racked up a $2,000 bill.

      That's why dozens of people came out to Left Foot Charley Wednesday night, helping raise money for the program. There was a suggested ten dollar donation at the door.

      When the snow falls, the crew spends hours clearing trails near Cherry Bend in Leelanau, all the way to the other side of town at five mile.

      ??No matter how you're trying to get to town, there's a safe way on foot or bike for you to get where you want to go,?? said TART Executive Director Julie Clark. ??Even to break cabin fever, it's a really good thing. Winter shouldn't stop us from getting outside and getting active.??

      There's a six person crew that runs the city's machine. There are at least four people who shovel the trail along the Boardman River.

      ??They have so many more people interested,?? said Dave Fisher, snow removal team coordinator. ??If we don't clear the trail, we're hearing about it now. ??Why aren't you out there clearing the trails??? So it's come a long way.??

      Organizers said they're happy to help make outdoor activity a year-round thing in Traverse City.

      This year they are also using bike plows which are pulled behind bikes. If you're interested in trying one out, contact TART Trails.

      You can learn more about the snow removal team, or how to help out by visiting TART??s website.