DNR purchases land easements from local company

Snowmobilers enjoy an afternoon on Trail No. 417 in Marquette County. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with Lyme Great Lakes Timberlands, has purchased near 103 miles of snowmobile trail easements, primarily for snowmobiles, in Marquette and Baraga counties. (Photo courtesy of the DNR via the Escanaba Daily Press)

MARQUETTE — In partnership with Lyme Great Lakes Timberlands, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced it has purchased nearly 103 miles of primarily snowmobile trail easements in Marquette and Baraga counties.

The DNR purchased the easements for $1.8 million from the L’Anse- and Escanaba-based company, with funds from the DNR’s permanent snowmobile easement fund.

“Trail networks are integral to the economy of the Upper Peninsula and enjoy year-round use,” said Bill O’Brion, general manager of Lyme Great Lakes Timberlands, in a news release. “We’re pleased to once again work with the DNR to provide permanent public access to the trail networks in Marquette and Baraga counties, which pass through some of the most scenic parts of the area

“Our partnership with the DNR continues to grow and strengthen as we work together to protect the trail network across all of Lyme’s ownership in the Upper Peninsula.”

Eight of the trail miles will be designated as multi-use, including off-road vehicle use, with the remainder for snowmobiles only.

Ron Yesney, the DNR’s Upper Peninsula trails coordinator, said the permanent snowmobile easement fund was developed to provide a funding source to ensure snowmobile trails would be available for current and future generations to enjoy.

“Trails are critical to the Upper Peninsula’s economy, and we are proud to partner with Lyme to secure these trails forever,” Yesney said in a news release. “Michigan is a leader in snowmobile access and use, continuing to grow its network of permanent trails.”

Michigan has roughly 6,500 miles of groomed snowmobile trails managed by the DNR and snowmobile clubs, with about half of those miles located in the U.P, the DNR said.

Karen Middendorp, executive director of the Michigan Snowmobile and Off-Road Vehicle Association, said her organization is pleased with the easements purchase made by the DNR, which will help add permanence to the state’s trail system.

“Acquiring permanent snowmobile trail easements is a priority for the snowmobile community,” she said in a news release.

For more information on snowmobiling in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/ Snowmobiling.

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