Yale trail links to Iron Belle


June 29, 2019

Tom LaVenture/Daily Globe

Terry Kryshak, right, and Dustin Filippini, with his children, Dominic, 4, and Giana, 7, walk along the path the two cleared Tuesday for walkers and mountain bikers to connect to the Iron Belle Trail from the Yale neighborhood of Bessemer. Some of the path uses former rail grade.


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Bessemer - Volunteers and some summer youth labor program members helped to create a trail link from the Yale neighborhood to the Bessemer segment of the Iron Belle Trail on Tuesday.

The 0.21 mile trail is on city property and starts about a half-mile east of the Moore Street trailhead of the Iron Belle. The trail departs the Iron Belle and runs between Bessemer Plywood Corporation land and the Xcel Energy transfer station up to Spring Street, former U.S. 2, and nearly across from the Colby Mine monument.

A wide shoulder will allow walkers and mountain bikers to connect from Yale without having to go through the industrial park or to the trailhead, said Dustin Filippini, a member of the Friends of the Iron Belle Trail, who planned and constructed the path with fellow member and Bessemer City Councilman Terry Kryshak.

"It's important to give neighborhoods this direct access to this northeast section of a 2,019 mile state trail system," Filippini said. "It's a good way to make sure the trail is used."

"I figure we should try connecting the neighborhoods to the trails so people don't have to drive down to one spot," Filippini said. "People can go from their house and I can have an easy way with my kids rather than driving down the plywood plant road to get onto the trail with our bikes."

It was Filippini's dream to build this trail, Kryshak said. His family goes back several generations in the Yale neighborhood, he said.

Kryshak, Filippini and Terri Triggiano used chainsaws, a mower, clippers, weed eaters and other tools to create the path in about a half a day, Kryshak said. The trail is already suitable for mountain bikes and walkers and will only smooth out more with constant use, he said.

All the land so far has been city property, he said. This first phase was to clear brush to make a dirt and grass path. At some point when there is funding the plan is to gravel or pave the path, he said.

"This was step one," Kryshak said.

Once the path ends at old U.S. 2 the hikers and bikers can use the wide shoulder to ride into Yale. Later this summer Kryshak said they hope to have a road grader smooth out the gravel shoulder.

The path can be found after crossing the the first two bridges of the Iron Belle going east from the Moore Street trailhead. The path starts as a treeless clearing of former rail grade that once ran to the Yale area mines. The path veers left as the rail grade reaches Bessemer Plywood Corporation and continues through a field up to Spring Street.

Two high school youth provided who are hired by the city through a work based learning program through Michigan Rehabilitation Service, performed a lot of labor, Kryshak said.

"This was pretty well overgrown," Kryshak said. "The kids hauled, mowed and did some weed eating."

The program gives teens with disabilities the opportunity to have an eight week work experience to develop workplace soft skills that will help them in adulthood, said Tasha Weber, the Marquette District rehabilitation services site manager for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The local office serves the cities of Ironwood and Bessemer and there are 35 students at 14 work sites altogether, she said.

"This is our fourth year doing it," Weber said.


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