ICORE, trail friends hold work bee


October 14, 2019

Tom LaVenture/Daily Globe

Karen Hagemann plants daffodils Sunday at the Hurley Trailhead near the Montreal River. "Work Bee" volunteers planted hundreds of flowers along with putting benches and bike racks away for the winter and improved a dirt side trail from the trailhead down to the river.


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HURLEY, Wis. - "Work Bee" volunteers said a little snow and drizzle wasn't going to keep them from spending a Sunday afternoon improving the Hurley Non-motorized Trailhead.

Members of the Iron County Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts and its sister organization, Friends of the Iron-Bell Trail in Michigan, met along the paved path where the two trails meet going over the Montreal River. The work was to pick up litter, put benches, bike racks and picnic tables into storage, plant flowers and continue improving a side trail from the Hurley trailhead down below the bridge to the Montreal River.

"We usually work on the North Country Trail but today we're all helping here," said Bethany Thomas, vice president of the Heritage Chapter of the North Country Trail. "We're lending the tools to build the (side) trail today, smoothing it out and removing any stumps or overhangs."

The side path is at the trailhead so people can park their bikes and walk down and see the river, she said. It's the first segment of the city's proposed future river walk.

Karen Hagemann, an ICORE board member, said she lives just three blocks from the trailhead and wants to do her part to improve "one of the prettiest spots in the city right now." Her husband helped to cut the side trail last spring.

"When a city is along the water you really have to capitalize on that river front," Hagemann said. "So this is the best we can do right now until we start developing more access to vistas along the river."

The work on Sunday was to remove the stumps and other obstacles remaining from the spring work, she said. On the paved trail above, volunteers planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs that as perennials should sprout in the spring.

"This is the first time we've done this," Hagemann said. "They'll stay in and hopefully they will spread."

Enni Gregas, coordinator of the Friends of the Iron Bell Trail, spent the afternoon planting daffodil bulbs on the Hurley side.

"I love this idea of a spring surprise," Gregas said. "People always have a good idea. We just love to enhance the trails."

After the afternoon of planting Gregas said she was going to attend the fall meeting of the Friends of the Iron-Bell Trail in Ironwood.

"We're all in this together," Gregas said. "This is all our trails. We support each other."

Volunteering for the ICORE event is a function of the Friends, in terms of enhancing and promoting the trail, she said. The Iron-Bell volunteers mow and maintain a trail from Ironwood to Bessemer, and ICORE picks up the trail at the Wisconsin border and plans to continue it to Montreal, she said.

Mike Andreske, president of ICORE, said the Hurley trails people joined with ICORE three years ago. The trails committee is working on the Montreal extension, he said.

"It's exciting if it happens," Andreske said.

Ian Shackleton, an ICORE board member and trail committee member, said the city of Hurley purchased the trailhead property three years ago. This past spring the volunteers cleared a trail from the trailhead down to the Montreal River, and continued the work Sunday with smoothing it out and removing more branches and stumps.

Hurley High School students with Northwest Manufacturing built benches and bike racks for the trailhead, he said. The work Sunday was also to put them away in a shelter until spring.

"We're appreciative of all of the volunteers who came out today to help maintain and develop the trailhead here, along with people from the Friends of the Iron-Bell Trail who maintain the other side of the bridge," Shackleton said.

The plan is now to extend the Hurley Trailhead along former Canadian National rail grade 2.9 miles to Montreal, he said. The trail would eventually be paved and include a parking area, he said.

The work is moving forward with foundation grant applications, donations and a show of support from the two cities, he said. With the work to extend the Iron-Bell Trail next year he said it's possible in a few years to have a pavee bike trail running from Montreal to Ramsay.

"That is going to be an awesome asset to our community," Shackleton said.

The next ICORE event on the calendar is the Potato River hike from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 25. For more information or to pledge support for the trail development visit ironcountyoutdoors.org and on Facebook.


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