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NSM Trail Improvements Update-November 6, 2015

We have made the most significant progress on the race course improvements, since 1999.  More progress is planned for 2016 and 2017.   We are working on 3 year plan to improve the course by widening the trail, improving the surface area, re-building many of the hills and gaining long-term access.

So far this year we have invested $130,000 and hundreds of volunteer hours implementing the first phase of trail improvements.   Below is the list of projects that have been completed so far:

  1. We will be re-routing the 50k start in Al Quall to extend the trail within the park to extend the distance before heading downhill, out of the park.  Thanks City of Ishpeming and NMU Ski Team.
  2. From the 44km mark (shortly after the Deer Lake crossing) we have used hand tools to add width, primarily the last sharp downhill turn to the left shortly before the 43km aid station.
  3. From the 43km aid station through the 40km downhill, we have brought in an excavator and a bulldozer to do significant widening of the three major hills (two up and one downhill). Widening with heavy equipment has been approved for the 40km to 37km section in 2016.
  4. Extra brushing of the Granite Pointe area is in progress. A New 2k re-route is planned for the summer of 2016.
  5. We acquired 40 acres of land from Plum Creek and were able to widen the start area by an additional 30 feet. We plan to increase the size of the parking lot in 2016.
  6. We purchased an 8 mile easement from Plum Creek extending from 25km through County Road 510 to the 17km mark just past the pine plantation. We re-routed one tight turn in this section, just prior to the snowmobile crossing.  Additionally, some trees were removed to improve grooming.
  7. The 16km to 13km section was logged this year.  The logging project was very well done and left a nice tree line buffer to the trail as well as removed some large trees that encroached on our ideal width.
  8. The most notable improvement is the new re-route of the NMU second pond downhill at 8km. We finally received permission to rebuild this hill to a safer, gentler route just to the north of the existing trail.  The downhill will now be flatter after a right hand turn near the top, it will be a straight shot down to the pond, eliminating the off camber curved downhill.
  9. Extra mowing and widening has been done in the final 4 km’s where possible. We also are setting up snow fencing along the railroad grade to capture more snow.

In 2016 we plan more heavy equipment work and some re-routing.  Our goal is to build this trail to nearly 30 feet wide in all areas possible.  You should see an improved skiing experience this winter with much more to come in the next 2 years.

 
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