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Calley takes a ride on part of proposed statewide trail

 

Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

MICHIGAN LT. Gov. Brian Calley addresses an audience of about 60 people Tuesday afternoon at the Ironwood Depot.

IRONWOOD — The bike ride Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley participated in on Tuesday in Ironwood was only a drop in the bucket compared to the one he plans for the future.

Calley and his son, Collin, 9, participated in a mile-long bike ride from Jacquart Fabric Products in the city’s industrial park to the downtown Depot, which will mark the trailhead for a statewide non-motorized trail.

The mile ride is a tiny part of the trail that’s in the works.

“This is the beginning of a vision to connect all the way from the border of Wisconsin to the Ohio border,” Calley told an audience of about 60 people at the Depot.

In an interview with the Daily Globe, he said the statewide trail involves connecting a series of existing trails and he didn’t know how soon that could be accomplished.

Calley noted the Ironwood area trail will offer a wide right-of-way that will allow for more opportunities and better biking and hiking than on some other stretches of the statewide trail.

Calley, 36, said Michigan is making an economic comeback and said people should think about what kind of future they want for their kids and grandkids, including recreational opportunities.

When the planned statewide non-motorized trail was first announced, Calley said Gov. Rick Snyder’s office immediately received calls of support from the Ironwood area. He said the enthusiasm that was shown for the trail during his visit here Tuesday was encouraging.

Bob Jacquart, CEO at Jacquart Fabric Products, asked for a show of hands of people who have worked on Depot Park improvements Tuesday and about half of those at the gathering responded.

Bricks and sod were placed last week and the pavilion is up.

“It’s shaping up as a beautiful park,” Jacquart said. He noted it will not only be used by bicyclists, but also by snowmobilers and all-terrain vehicle riders.

“We had hoped for a bunch of people on bikes today and we got that,” Jacquart said.

Calley, who was visiting the Upper Peninsula as part of the Pure Michigan promotional campaign, was sworn in on New Year’s Day 2011 as the nation’s youngest lieutenant governor.

Born in 1977, Calley graduated from Ionia High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and an MBA from Grand Valley State. He and his wife, Julie, have been married since 1996 and live in Portland, in the lower peninsula, with their three young children.

He said Tuesday his grandmother was from the eastern U.P.

After the bike ride, Calley and his son toured the Copper Peak ski flying facility on Tuesday afternoon.