Advocates on both sides of the state line are working to improve non-motorized trails in Hurley, Ironwood and beyond.
Construction of a new parking area at the Hurley trailhead began recently, where a parking lot off Highway 51 will allow for more parking on the Wisconsin side to join a Michigan trail system.
Ian Shackleford is a spokesperson for the Iron County Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts or ICORE. (link)He says the City of Hurley was involved by purchasing the site from Canadian National and the group picked up a grant to make it happen..
"Thanks to a grant from the Gogebic Range Health Foundation we were able to put in a parking lot, providing safe off-street parking. From this trailhead people can access the Montreal River, the state line, and it also provides access to the Iron Belle trail across the state line in Michigan.."
The Iron Belle Trail is also being expanded to extend to Ramsey, Michigan from Ironwood, about 9 miles. Shackleford says ICORE continues working with the City of Hurley and U-W Extension to purchase the former Soo Line railroad grade between Hurley and Montreal. The railroad grade is currently owned by Canadian National.
The three organizations worked on a grant application to the Wisconsin DNR to purchase the property from Canadian National...
"If we can build the Hurley to Montreal trail that will make 12.8 miles of walking and biking trails linking five communities in two states. We think that would be an awesome thing for our communities..."
Shackleford says it would be a major step to get the property purchased this year, about another year to fund raise and design the trail. He says it will take about $1 million to build the Hurley to Montreal link.