Marquette- The Noquemanon Trail Network( NTN) was notified today, November 5, 2007, that the Michigan DNR has lost all funding for the grooming of the Blueberry Ridge Pathway. Other cross country ski trail systems affected in the state by the cuts are the Vasa, Ogema Hills and all other pathways.
This cut in the state budget impacts the plowing of both parking lots, the lighting of the lit loop and the grooming at the Blueberry Ridge Pathway.
The NTN has been a grooming contractor for the Blueberry Ridge Pathway for the last 5 years and is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization. The NTN’s grooming efforts at Blueberry have been supported by a $17,000 grooming grant. The Michigan DNR has also paid for the lighting of the trails along with the plowing of the parking lots, which has also been a significant expense. The NTN membership fees have helped to support the cost of the equipment associated with the grooming of the Blueberry trails.
“This is a big loss for the x-c ski community”, comments Susan Brian, NTN Executive Director. “The Blueberry Ridge Trails are an essential part of the winter experience here in Marquette. People travel to the Marquette area to ski on these trails, and residents have made these trails a normal part of their daily lives.” Brian also comments, ” The NTN will work hard to find some solutions, but our resources are limited, and we need the State’s support. Based on the timing of these cuts and this decision by the State, it may not be possible to find alternatives to funding. However, the NTN will try to pursue an arrangement with the State of Michigan. “
For more information about the NTN, contact Susan Brian at (906)228-6182.