Winter occupies our consciousness here in the Keweenaw for about half the year. When we're not busy clearing out the hundreds of inches of snow we receive each winter, we're busy planning our next trip through the snowy landscapes on the region's extensive snowmobile trail network. Our trails stretch across the Keweenaw, from Copper Harbor to Twin Lakes and beyond. One can easily hop on a snowmobile at The Bridge (in Mackinac or Houghton, your choice) and ride all the way to High Rock Bay, the literal end of the trail in Michigan. It's an epic adventure that will take you through windswept towns, endless woodlands, over Brockway Mountain, and along the freshest lakes in the world.
Photo Credit: Keweenaw Convention & Visitors Bureau
Like our region's ORV trails, snowmobile trail access is not always guaranteed. Every long-time rider has a story about a place that was once connected by a great trail that was lost, whether through maintenance nightmares or, more likely, withheld permissions. Many of our favorite trails rely on willing landowners allowing snowmobile trails across their property. Often these permissions are granted on a short-term, revocable basis. Unhappy or unwilling landowners can shut down access across their property, essentially severing the trail in two if no alternative is found. Nobody wants to sled into a dead-end if there's no big vista to make the trip worthwhile. All it takes is one landowner along the trail to back out and the entire trail can be lost.
Here in the Keweenaw we have the opportunity to get ahead of this problem of landowner fragmentation. A single investment firm owns tens of thousands of acres of contiguous land in Keweenaw County, land that sees the most snowfall and some of the best trails across the Upper Peninsula. We have the opportunity to secure permanent public access to this vast acreage for outdoor recreation, including a network of snowmobile trails to the furthest-flung destinations in the region. If local control of this enormous block of land is guaranteed, we will no longer have to worry about losing access to our favorite snowmobile trails. These trails will last forever.
We must act fast though, because each year we lose more and more land to privatization. Every parcel lost is more work we must complete to establish new trail corridors, if these new landowners are even willing to listen. Securing local control of these vast investor-owned landscapes at the heart of the Keweenaw is crucial if we are to expand our snowmobile trail network in the years to come. Help us open up new areas to explore by joining KORC today!