DNR awards area Iron Belle grants
Three area projects along Michigan's Iron Belle Trail will receive grants through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
In the third round of Iron Belle Trail funding, the DNR received 41 applications and each awarded project will receive up to $30,000 for improvements that include feasibility studies, preliminary construction and engineering of new trail segments, signage for trail segments and trailheads, environmental impact studies and other uses.
The North Country Trail Association of Ontonagon and Gogebic counties will receive $4,200 for four separate informational panels at trailheads or parking areas near the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Iron Belle Trail. The panels will be designed to highlight areas of interest along the trail.
A total of $30,000 will go toward the Bush Creek Bridge replacement in the Ottawa National Forest.
Michigan's Iron Belle Trail is the longest state-designated trail in the nation, encompassing more than 2,000 miles of hiking and biking routes.
The MDNR awarded $250,000 in Belle Trail grants in 2015 and $350,000 in 2016 for various projects.
This year's funds are part of the DNR's 2017 budget for the non-motorized trail program.
Paul Yauk, DNR state trails coordinator, said roughly 72 percent of the hiking route and 60 percent of the biking route is complete.