The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ontonagon area schools receive grant


Jan Tucker/Daily Globe

Senior Service Project class member Byron Laclair, left and volunteer Ryan Solberg work at dismantling one of the 1980s era bridges on the school woods trail.


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Ontonagon - If you find yourself walking the woods trail west of the Ontonagon Area Schools building on Parker Ave., watch out for the bridge closures. OASD recently received a $2,500 grant from the Portage Health Foundation to improve the trail system and the area around the school/village tennis courts.

The first order of business is the dismantling of four old bridges that cross some of the water courses on the property. A cooperative project involving the Ontonagon Area Schools, Stone Forest Products, and dozens of volunteers had spruced up the trails for nature hikers in the late 1980s.

An unfortunate incident of extreme vandalism by a couple of individuals destroyed all of the interpretive signs that had been planted around the trail. Only the bridges were left undamaged, but the subsequent years have taken their toll on these once sturdy structures. The vandalism left the trail system underused for many years but the current project hopes to change that.

This is actually the third time the trail system has been improved. Back in the late 1970s, a group of volunteers had erected exercise stations so the trails could be used by PE classes and community members as a fit strip.

Ken Raisanen applied for the grant in August and was recently informed that it had been awarded for this project. Raisanen said, "We may not get all of the work done before snow flies, but we will get as much done as we can now and try to finish the rest in the spring. We will also be improving the tennis courts and will investigate another grant that would allow at least part of the trail to be lighted. We will do as much of this with volunteer labor and materials as we can so we can stretch the limited funds available for the project."

Senior Service Project class members as well as Raisanen's seventh grade PE class have already put in over 50 hours of work since school began. There has also been some discussion with the village about what they can do to assist with the improvements around the tennis courts.


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