Marquette, MI – The Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN) is pleased to announce they received confirmation on Wednesday, November 21st that the grooming for the Blueberry Ridge Pathway has been funded for the 2007-2008 x-c ski season.
“We’re ecstatic about this change in the budget for the Michigan DNR”, says Susan Brian, Executive Director of the NTN.” This greatly impacts the x-c ski community; people have a lot of emotion tied to Blueberry. It’s an important component to the economy for the winter in Marquette and for the sport of Cross Country skiing in Michigan” says Brian. “We received word from Terry Popour from the Michigan DNR; he mentioned they changed their budget to fund the Pathways in Marquette & Traverse City.”
The Noquemanon Trail Network ( NTN) has been the grooming contractor for the Blueberry Ridge Pathway for the past 5 years. It receives a $17,000 budget for the grooming of the trails. The NTN membership does not cover the grooming of Blueberry Ridge, but it does support the purchase and upkeep of the equipment that is used to maintain the trails at Blueberry.
“Its part of our core values for the NTN to keep non-motorized trails open, “says Brian. “ The NTN is a grass-roots non-profit organization that works to sustain non-motorized trails. We are constantly working to secure trails so they don’t fall to the way-side. The NTN would still like to keep Blueberry Ridge sustainable, instead of going through this roller-coaster ride every fall” says Brian. “XC skier’s need to understand that grooming of x-c ski trails is not free, there is fuel, equipment, insurance, all types of things that are required and real costs for our organization” quotes Brian.
The NTN wrote a letter to the State of Michigan in early November requesting that they have the ability to maintain and operate Blueberry Ridge through a concessionaire contract. This type of contract is similar to what they have in Traverse City for the Vasa Pathway, and the TART Trails non-profit organization. The NTN will continue to try to make Blueberry Ridge sustainable.
The Noquemanon Trail Network is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization that promotes development of integrated, multi-use, non-motorized trails. For more information on the NTN, contact Susan Brian at (906)228-6182.