Thunder Bay Trails has been notified that the Department of Natural Resources will fund some needed repairs at the Norway Ridge Pathway. Blake Gingrich, Unit Supervisor Parks & Recreation Division, stated that monies have been committed for replacement of the bridge/boardwalk identified as site 6. This is the bridge that TBTA has repaired on a yearly basis after the spring snowmelt. Gingrich stated that the replacement is scheduled for late summer/early fall of this year. It is expected that TBTA volunteers will help with the project.
The April Board of Directors Meeting has been changed to Thursday April 9th at 6:00PM. The meeting will be held at Alpena Community College, Center Building, Room 106. The meeting is open to the general public. On the agenda will be the status of the proposed timber cut at the Chippewa Hills Pathway.
This past Thursday a meeting was held in Gaylord. The meeting was very positive. The following is an e-mail that Mary Beth Stutzman had sent out to the Chippewa Hills User Constituent Group. Her email captures the tone of the meeting. Hopefully TBTA will be able to move forward with the the cut and work with the DNR in the area of compromise that will lead to Chippewa Hills becoming a destination point for all non-motorized users.
Attached is a letter from the Director of the DNR in response to the position of the Chippewa Hills User Constituent Group on the proposed timber cut at Chippewa Hills Pathway.
Randy Fairbanks, President TBTA
March 6, 2015
Dear TBTA Member, Former Member, or Member to be,
Eighteen years ago, the Department of Natural Resources stopped grooming the non-motorized trail systems at Norway Ridge and Chippewa Hills for cross country skiing. Citing lack of funding and manpower the DNR stated that they would no longer be able to groom or perform maintenance on the pathways. A group of non-motorized enthusiast got together and formed what is now known as Thunder Bay Trails Association. The mission of Thunder Bay Trails Association is to promote and protect non-motorized trail systems in Alpena County and adjoining areas and reflect their recreational significance for the enjoyment, education and adventure to area citizens. TBTA has remained true to its’ mission statement. For eighteen years TBTA members have groomed the trails for cross country skiing, performed trails maintenance and advocated for non-motorized trails. This has been done without any monetary assistance from the DNR and no support from the Forest Resources Division of the DNR.
The TBTA Board of Directors March meeting is Thursday March 5, 2015 at 6:00PM. The meeting place is ACC, BesserTech Building, RM 126. It should be noted that this is a different room than where we normally hold the monthly meetings.
The agenda will include an update on the Chippewa Hills timber cut controversy.
The meeting is open to any interested party.
The Chippewa Hills User Constituent Group has been meeting regularly since I lasted posted.
A position paper has been prepared. The position paper has been forwarded to the Director Creaugh of the DNR, Chief William Oneil of the Forest Resources Division and Chief Ron Olsen of the Parks and Recreation Division. Attached is the position paper and its rational.
Mary Beth Stutzman and myself had an informal meeting with Steve Milford, District Forester and Rich Hill, Parks and Recreation Division last Thursday. No compromises to the proposed timber harvest plan were offered and none were made. A meeting is scheduled in March to try and resolved this issue. Steve Milford stated that the DNR wants to get this matter resolved in a manner that will be beneficial to all user groups.
Much has happened in the last two months in our efforts to save the Chippewa Hills Pathway. The Alpena Convention and Visitors Bureau has been very involved with their leadership. The Alpena County Board of Commissioners and the Ossineke Township Board of Trustees have both passed resolutions supporting the efforts of TBTA and requesting the DNR to reevaluate the proposed timber cut. A community wide forum held this past Tuesday had 60 area residents attend. All attendees had the opportunity to voice their concerns and comments on the proposed cut and the impact that it will have on the pathway and the community. The DNR did have two representatives in attendance. This was not a question and answer session nor was it a DNR bashing session. The vast majority of the attendees did speak and express their concerns. It should be obvious to the DNR that the community does not support the proposed timber treatment at the Chippewa Hills Pathway. Chippewa Hills Pathway is a valuable community asset and far outweighs any short term monetary gain that the proposed timber cut will bring. The user group coalition would hope to meet with DNR in the near future to reconsider the proposed timber cut.
Join concerned citizens during this open meeting to gather feedback from the community on the proposed timber harvest plan prescribed for Chippewa hills Pathway.
All users of Chippewa Hills Pathway & those interested in sharing thoughts/concerns about the cutting at the Pathway are encouraged to attend.
Tuesday Dec 9, at 6:30 p.m. at ACC’s Granum Theater
TBTA and the Alpena CVB hosted an open house in the parking lot of the Chippewa Hills Pathway. The event was on Saturday at 10:00 AM. The goal for TBTA was to educate anyone interested in the pending timber cut and its impact on the pathway. To say the least I was overwhelmed by the turnout. I estimated 150 to 200 people were in attendance. These people showed up to express their concerns over the proposed timber cut and the importance of the Chippewa Hills Pathway. Non-motorized trails advocacy is alive and well in Alpena County.
TBTA leadership met with the DNR at the Alpena County Library on Friday afternoon. The DNR was well represented with staff from the Forest Resources, Parks & Recreation, and the Wildlife Division. Of particular note was the presence of William O’Neil, Chief of the Forest Resources Division. Also in attendance were Mary Beth Stutzman, Alpena CVB, Jackie Krawczak Alpena Chamber of Commerce, and Representative Peter Petallia.
Join Thunder Bay Trails Association & the Alpena Area CVB for a PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE at Chippewa Hills Pathway.
Saturday, October 11th @ 10a.m.
Meet in the front parking lot at the pathway. Tour guides will lead an informational session and walk-thru of the Pathway and share information about the DNR’s proposed cutting plan and ramifications to the pathway.