DNR

Michigan Trails Week: Glacial Hills

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If you ever want proof that trails can change a community, look at Glacial Hills and Bellaire.

Glacial Hills might look like a seamlessly run trail network, but it was born out of collaboration and vision, and plenty of hard work. This is a trail system made from local businesses and governments working together to support one of the best trails in the country, not just the Midwest.

Glacial Hills is really a lot of organizations turned into one. With nearly 800 acres of forest and now 31.5 miles, representatives from Antrim County, Forest Township Home Township, and the Village of Bellaire, as well as the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, and members of the community. Like all of the NMMBA trails, Glacial is a registered non-profit that is dedicated to providing non-motorized recreational opportunities for hikers, bikers, and everyone with a love of the forest. Of course, Short’s Brewing Company has also played a vital role in support Glacial Hills, and it’s fitting that many rides end at their pub. That has almost become a part of the experience when you ride at Glacial!

Just a short ride or drive up from Bellaire, Glacial Hills offers rolling, flowing singletrack that is a blast to ride. No matter what your skill level, Glacial is just fun; it’s the only mountain bike race each summer that you’ll hear riders hooting, hollering, laughing, and cheering each other on just because they’re enjoying it so much!

There are a couple of trail heads at Vandermark, Orchard Hills, and Eckhardt Roads, and one of the exciting improvements this summer has been parking lot expansions and bathroom installations that should be finished soon.

Also new this fall is the signage. With so many little loops, it was always tough to put together different circuits without stopping; however, you can now use color coordinated signs to put together expertly loops from Vandermark, and that will expand to other areas throughout the winter and spring.

And it’s winter that is getting us excited. Glacial has the most well-organized team of trail crew around, and while that group is incredible all spring, summer, and fall, the groomers in the winter make Glacial a great place to fat bike. Along with the Cadillac Pathway, Vasa Winter Sports Singletrack, and Northport State Park, our region has the best winter trails around!

Glacial Hills offers almost any distance loop, so if you’re new to riding, you can duck in for a three mile ride, or ride all day! There are also weekly guided hikes and, in winter, snowshoe tours! It’s a trail that offers a unique, fun, experience that’s become an integral part of the Village of Bellaire and Antrim County, and if you haven’t check out Glacial yet, you need to!

Learn more about Glacial on their website, and you can also stay up-to-date on Facebook and Instagram.

It's Michigan Trails Week with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources!

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This week is all about highlighting trails across Michigan, and since we’re pretty partial to a few in our neck of the woods, we’re going to highlight one trail every day.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has selected September 22 through September 29 to celebrate all of the incredible state-owned recreational trails across Michigan. The week is meant to offer information about the trails to help people learn about their history, their use, and what’s next for non-motorized recreation in their area. We’re proud to work with the DNR in managing and protecting our natural spaces, and to help with the week, we’ve put together a little info about each trail that we have-as well as what’s to come!

This week, watch our Facebook and Instagram accounts for stories, photos, and more from the following trail systems:

Tuesday: Cadillac Pathway
Wednesday: Glacial Hills
Thursday: Vasa Singletrack and Pere Marquette Forest
Friday: Bike Leelanau

We’ll focus on what trail conditions and terrain is like right now for each trail, but also offer some of the exciting things to come, including more miles of trail, new features and amenities, and events that you’re not going to want to miss.

Of course, if you really want to stay in the loop, make sure you become a member of NMMBA, and sign up for our monthly newsletter that’ll keep you up to speed on all things trails between Cadillac, Bellaire, and Northport!

The ReViSiT Ribbon Cutting :: August 9

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If you ridden the Vasa Singletrack recently, you've probably noticed plenty of changes and re-routes on Traverse City's most beloved singletrack system. After decades of heavy use, it was time for a refresh; it was time to reViSiT. 

Chad Jordan, Tom White, Mike Walters, and dozens of volunteers worked closely with the DNR and trail users themselves to help make some smart, sustainable changes to the trail in order to enhance the user experience, reduce our impact, and make a trail that requires less work while also holding up to more riding! 

With major changes to the Saplings and less-noticeable changes on other parts of the trail, we've accomplished 99% of what we set out to do. That 1% missing? That's the party to unveil it! 

Nobody knows how to throw a party like the guys at Keen Technical Solutions, and we've tagged in their paella experts to offer up the grub at an historic night on the VST. For the first time ever, the weekly Speed of Light ride is moving to singletrack for the ultimate bragging rights. We're inviting all riders in Traverse City to join us on August 9 at 6 pm for a laid-back but still very fast time trail of the new-look VST! 

Riders will start at 30 second intervals, then 10 second intervals for a full loop of the Singletrack. Bring the kids, too; miniSOL will take on the 3 mile Kinglet Loop as soon as the adults are all off into the woods. 

The full loop is 14 miles long, with the fastest times around 55 minutes, with a 65 minute lap considered very strong. 

No matter how long it takes you, there will be a gigantic pan of paella and free beer from Short's Brewing awaiting your finish. Everyone is a winner when we come together in the woods! 

We'll be joined during and after the ride by representatives from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The DNR is eager to see the reception of the trail updates and enthusiasm for mountain biking as a whole; the more bikes on hand, the better for the future of the trails! Make sure you show up, bring a friend, and display the inclusive, supportive, and safe riding that makes Northern Michigan the best place to be a mountain biker in the whole state! 

For more details on the ride, as well as a start list, make sure you head over to the event page on Strava, and check back to our Facebook page for more details. 

eBikes on DNR Trails

It is within the mission of NMMBA to respect our DNR land managers, follow the best practices for trail design/maintenance and to sustain trail user harmony/safety to the fullest possible extent.  To that end, we are following the guidelines put forth by the Michigan DNR to not allow the use of eBikes on our single track trail system as they are currently not legal for use on unimproved dirt trails.  We ask that you please help us by enjoying our trails using pure pedal power.  Those with disabilities are always welcome to access our trails with eBikes.

NMMBA's PA288 Update From Tom White

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We've been up to a lot this summer, and there have been few efforts as important as our work to help construct a safe, sustainable, and workable solution to PA288. PA288 addresses access to state forest roads all over Michigan, of which there are plenty that intersects the trails and singletrack in Northern Michigan. We took a look at PA288 earlier this summer, and we're excited to bring you an update on where we stand. 

NMMBA helped form the PA288 Motorized and Non-motorized Coalition to help compile goals and concerns with other interested trail user groups. Skiers, mountain bikers, hikers, dirt bikers, ORV users and more all worked to establish a person to represent their group as serve as their respective advocates. 

Over the course of several meetings, we made a number of compromises that will open select corridors that will allow ORVs to access the interior of the Vasa 25k Pathways through established East/West and North/South roads. On the face of it, this may sound dangerous, but we've all worked to make sure that these access points are existing roads that cross the path, which means there won't be any new roads or crossing used by ORVs. 

The coalition then submitted a plan to the DNR for their consideration, and we believe this plan will play a large role in the how the DNR deals with forest roads around the state. 

Even more importantly, the coalition helped establish a relationship between all the user groups, and that's crucial. The ability to connect and converse will help NMMBA, TART, and all trail advocacy groups work with different groups to prevent conflict and support sustainable trail practices. These are the exact relationships we need to make sure that we can protect our trails and our forests in the decades to come.