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Gaylord could come closer to connecting Iron Belle Trail

Gaylord could come closer to connecting Iron Belle Trail

OTSEGO COUNTY, MI (WPBN/WGTU) -- An addition to a trail in Gaylord could be the next step in connecting a line from Detroit, all the way up to Ironwood in the Upper Peninsula.

There is already a snowmobile trail that stretches north from Gaylord to Mackinaw City, but this project would extend it 11 miles south to Waters and have a new surface for hiking and biking when the snow melts.

The trailhead, located in downtown Gaylord, would come with snowmobile parking for the winter and green space along the sides when the snow melts.

The project will cost about $2.5 million, mostly funded by grants from the Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“It will eventually be a key component in the trail called the Iron Belle Trail,” said Paul Beechnau, an Otsego County Commissioner.

The Iron Belle Trail runs from Belle Isle in Detroit, all the way to Ironwood on the western side of the Upper Peninsula.

It is almost 70% complete.

“For me personally, it was a huge win for our community," Beechnau said. "I’m just a strong advocate of trails. I believe they’re great for community and economic development.”

Randy Boike owns Northern Sports in Bagley Township, right next to where the new trail would go.

“It helps not only the local businesses, but also the businesses in town and out of town as a thru-way to get to different places," Boike said.

Otsego County and Otsego LAke Township have already approved spending just over $200,000 on the project and the final step is for Bagley Township to approve their share which is the same amount.

Bagley Township will be holding a public meeting on January 4.

The Bagley Township Board will vote on it at their meeting on January 9.

If this part of the trail is built, the next step will be to connect it to the existing trail that ends in Grayling.

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