Lake Superior erosion forces Iron Ore Heritage Trail closures


MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — For the next five weeks, sections of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail in Marquette County will be closed or detoured while areas of the Lake Superior shoreline are repaired and stabilized.

The Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority contracted with A. Lindberg & Sons, Inc. to take on the five areas along the paved trail between the Welcome Center in Chocolay and Lake Street in Marquette.

Sections of the trail will be closed or detoured during the process so heavy machinery can place large boulders and implement other measures to secure the damaged area of the shoreline.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources through several grant sources, the IOHRA, the city of Marquette and Chocolay Township have committed funds totaling $256,000 to the project. The work includes installing filter fabric and crushed rock to reinforce existing rock slopes, placing large boulders from the bottom toe up to the top of the slope and following with topsoil, seed, fertilizer and mulch.

“We really don’t have another spot to put this trail,” IOHRA Administrator Carol Fulsher said. “We are pretty much tied to this spot. We’re either in a ditch or on the other side of the road, dealing with a rock outcrop and private property.”

Fulsher said it’s the only way in and out of Marquette for snowmobiles, bikes and it’s part of the North Country Trail for hikers.

Fulsher went on to say trail use has been up this year with people looking for a way to get outside.

Some areas of the trail aren’t able to have detours, so certain sections will be closed for about a week at a time. Officials plan on posting updates on the Heritage Trail Facebook page.

With 47 miles along the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, Fulsher said there will be plenty of other sections open for use.

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