ONTONAGON—MI-TRALE, (Michigan Trails and Recreation Alliance of Land and the Environment), a multi-use trail organization, announces that the Ottawa 70 miles of the new East Connector (EC) will officially open for travel on Saturday, Aug. 31.
“We are excited that all the necessary preparatory work has been completed so that this great new trail is able to be opened for people to enjoy it during the 2013 riding season,” said a club spokesperson.
“We urge everyone to get out and travel on this trail through the beautiful Ottawa National Forest (ONF) as soon as they can. We are positive you will have an enjoyable ride.”
The EC is a north-south route on the east side of the ONF that enables riders to connect to three other major trail arteries: The southern Iron River to Marenisco Route (IRM); the central Sidnaw to Bergland Route (SB) and the northern Bill Nichols Route (BN) that runs from Mass City to Houghton. These three trails run through five counties in the Western U.P. Riders can now go from the southern IRM route to the northern BN route, with multiple opportunities to branch off east and west, all the while being able to be serviced for fuel, lodging and food needs.
President of MI-TRALE, Don Helsel, said, “MI-TRALE believes this is a win-win situation for both the tourists traveling our trails as well as for the communities they are now able to easily access in which to spend their dollars. It helps promote what we already know to be true. The Western U.P. is a wonderful vacation destination.”
The ONF approved the EC route in April of this year and as of Aug. 14, the MDNR awarded the EC the status of being a designated route. This status affords MI-TRALE and the ONF the ability to properly maintain the trail according to their partnership agreement and ensure a safe and well-maintained trail for our riding guests.
DNR trails analyst Rob Katona said, “We would like to thank the Ottawa National Forest and the ORV organization MI-TRALE for their partnership and commitment in creating this additional ORV opportunity. This new route bolsters additional tourism and partnership that will help the local economy.”
A number of MI-TRALE members are going to gather for a departure at 10 a.m. on Aug. 31 to ride the trail starting southwest of Rousseau at the Pori Junction. Contact Linda Schulz, MI-TRALE Secretary for more information at (906) 827-3208.
All those interested are invited to join in for the ride to celebrate opening day of this trail. The grand opening of the EC, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, will take place in the spring of 2014.