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DNR Considering Grant for Groups to Purchase Land Needed for Proposed Hurley-Montreal Trail

Ian Shackleford/ICORE

There’s more than 100 miles of trails in Iron County that’s open to walking, hiking, biking, and skiing, and people are working to add more.

The latest focus has been in the Hurley area.

The Iron County Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts or ICORE is trying to create a three-mile trail between Hurley and Montreal.

The City of Hurley is in the process of securing a grant from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund to purchase the needed land from the Canadian National Railroad.

ICORE Board Member Ian Shackleford says the trail would connect to the one that currently links Hurley, Ironwood, Bessemer, and Ramsay.

“ICORE is working to build a trail in the other direction. Our goal is a three-mile trail between Montreal and Hurley connecting to the Iron Belle Trail,” said Shackleford. “It’s a very scenic route. It includes two historic railroad bridges and it’s right in the hearts of our communities. We think it would just be a wonderful asset to build that trail and connect over into Michigan and the Iron Belle Trail.”

Even if Hurley gets the grant, there’s still a wait.

“Well it’s good news that the Wisconsin DNR is considering our grant application. However, we recently received some bad news from Canadian National. As WXPR reported in July, Canadian National is considering a sale of their property in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula. They recently let us know they would not discuss any real estate sales until later in 2021,” said Shackleford.

In the meantime, ICORE is busy working on improving the land it does have at the trailhead in Hurley.

“At the trailhead ICORE provide benches, bike racks, trail information. We’ve been planting flowers and trees. We made a path down to the Montreal River, a scenic spot right downtown. In 2020, thanks to a grant from the Gogebic Health Grant Foundation, we were able to construct a new parking area. You can park there, hop on your bicycle,” said Shackleford.

The DNR is currently accepting public comment while it decides on the grant.

You can mail comments to Jeff Pennucci, DNR Regional Project Manager, Northern Region Headquarters, 107 Sutliff Ave., Rhinelander, WI 54501 or email to Jeff.Pennucci@Wisconsin.gov.

The deadline for written comments is Dec. 11, 2020.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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