Pathways

Don't Wonder, Know: Get Your Grooming Badge AND Get Trail Reports In Your Inbox

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Your grooming badge doesn’t just put gas in the tank of our grooming sleds. It doesn’t just help us build and fix grooming equipment. It doesn’t just put well-earned beer in the cooler. It also gives you access to the most up-to-date trail reports around!

It’s weeks exactly like this that having timely, accurate trail information to decide whether or not to make the trip to the trail. Freezing temps overnight, sunny and above freezing daily highs, and only the odd chance of snow makes nearly every day this week a bit of a crap shoot. Luckily, those who have already purchased their grooming badges have been getting grooming reports!

It’s a system we’ve implemented for years now, and it’s proven to be one of the most useful tools fat bikers can use to plan their rides. Unless you’re lucky enough to live right next to the Winter Sports Trail, the Cadillac Pathway, the Winter Sports Trail at Leelanau State Park, or Glacial Hills, it’s often just a bit of a hike to get the trail head, and knowing the conditions before you head out can be key.

We offer grooming reports every single time we head out to work on the trails. Our groomers all over northern Michigan relay what they see on the ground so that we can direct riders to the best places to ride, alert them of any trail issues, and keep everyone in the loop for trail events. It’s definitely a great tool when we have a lot of snow, but it’s these more uncertain days that we can often help you save a trip to the trail for less than ideal, or even dangerous, conditions due to weather.

Trail reports come from trail crews at all of our trails, including the trails at Leelanau State Park and Glacial Hills. Because most folks don’t live close to these trails, they’re perhaps the most important to have accurate information on so you know you’re getting to experience the very best of these two very fun and unique winter trails. It’s been a ton of fun working to bringing you these opportunities, and we really hope you make the trip to all of our trails over the course of this winter!

We’re only just getting started for what looks to be a beautiful winter if we can hold on to the snow that we have! As always, use your best judgement as we roll into what could turn into a weekend warm-up; riding Monday through Wednesday in the morning may provide the best riding conditions. We should also note that muzzle loader season is still open, so while you’ll see fewer hunters in the woods, make sure you have plenty of blaze orange or bright colors to help keep everyone safe out there.

Don’t have your grooming badge yet and want to get those Grooming Reports in your inbox? There’s a lot of winter left to enjoy! Get your badge today and help us get things rocking as we await a long overdue blizzard.

Michigan Trails Week: The Cadillac Pathway

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The Cadillac Pathway has been around for a long time, but it’s only been in the past three years that a team of volunteers have breathed new life into the trails. Michele Andrews, Erik Rogers, Dustin Webb, and a handful of others have turned the Cadillac Pathway into a community resource that’s greatly in need in Wexford County.

The Pathway currently consists of hiking, running, and mountain bike trails with loops ranging from two to eleven miles. The undulating, rolling terrain is perfect for riders of all abilities, with a few sections of tighter singletrack offering cyclists great mix of riding in a relatively small area.

That breadth of terrain also lends itself to a great mountain bike race. For the fourth year, racers from all over the state enjoyed the Bear Claw Epic, the biggest fundraiser for the Pathway and a chance for the community to show off the trails, businesses, and people that make our hometown so great.

While the big race of the year is behind us, we have plenty to look forward to in 2018 and beyond. We’re expecting our new Pavilion to be completed this fall, offering a place for everyone to come together, eat, relax, and mingle after a fun day on the trail. We also offer winter grooming for cross-country skiing and fat biking, which will begin as soon as we see the first sustainable snowflakes of the season!

And finally, we’re extremely proud to announce that the Michigan DNR just approved our plan to add another eleven miles of trail, with work on those trails to begin in spring of 2019! We see the future of the Pathway as full of potential, and we can’t wait to welcome you to our neck of the woods!

For maps, parking, donation, and more information, head to cadillacpathway.org and make sure you keep up with the latest Pathway news on Facebook and Instagram.

ViSiT Updates Taking Shape

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Northern Michigan has been given a second lease on summer this week, with perfect riding temperatures and a reprieve from an especially soggy week to start September. Make the most of it, and take a look at some of the updates to the Vasa Singletrack. As a part of our two-year plan to make the Vasa Singletrack more sustainable and more fun, our crew have taken the trail piece by piece and shaped the current trail system to reflect better trail conditions. It's an almost signpost to signpost dissection to address exposed tree roots, sand pits, and stumps to make the trail flow better and hold up better to the peak traffic of autumn.  

Last week, our volunteers took on the opening section of the VST to reduce exposed roots and close tree stumps that have become issues with the trail. It's been a very fun project to address the look and ride quality of the trail, and the feedback we've received has been extremely positive. We've also addressed other sections of the trail, with bigger changes and long re-routes currently in the hands of the DNR in the form a trail proposal. While the approval process takes time, we are able to make these small scale changes to make your experience better today. 

We've also been working with our pals from TART to make changes to the Vasa 25km over the past few weeks in an effort to reduce erosion. Not only will these efforts make the riding experience better, but reducing the depth of the trail bed will allow for more consistent grooming conditions and a more even base for groomers this winter! 

The next time you head out into the woods, give the VST a spin and let us know what you think! 

2017 Bear Claw Epic Volunteer Sign-Up!

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It takes everyone to put on one heckuva show! The 2017 edition of the Bear Claw Epic in Cadillac is under a month away, and our pals are looking for a few helping hands to make the race a hit. 

Not racing? There are still plenty of reasons to head to Cadillac on September 23. Donating your time to the biggest fundraiser for the Cadillac Pathways is an incredibly useful way to help the trail become better and better. There's certainly plenty on the horizon for the Pathways, including a trail proposal for more singletrack and features that is making its way through the DNR right now. 

The race itself is worth watching, too. Some of the best riders in the state will be on the start line, with many of them using the Bear Claw Epic as THE race to kick off their fall build up towards other Nothern Michigan classics like Peak2Peak and the Iceman Cometh Challenge. 

What do we need help with? Our volunteer needs include registration and packet pick-up, course marshals, as well as course set-up and course tear down. 

If you're able to help, please fill out our 2017 Volunteer Form here. Don't forget to pick your t-shirt size so you're looking fresh for the whole day..and every time you wear it. 

 

The Vasa 25km Pathways Make Over

If you've ridden, ran, or walked part of the famous Vasa 25km Pathways, then no doubt you've seen plenty of work being done. NMMBA and TART have teamed up to improve the sustainability of Traverse City's most used trail network. 

Section by section, kilometer by kilometers, NMMBA and TART are reshaping the Pathways to make them hold up to high levels of traffic, heavy rains, and season changes that can deteriorate the trail bed very quickly. We're taking this effort very seriously, and this tough job is overdue! 

We're pretty excited to have the support of TART, led by Chris Kushman. Together, we have access to all the materials we need to fix erosion and sand pits that have gotten deeper and wider over the years. Controlling how the trail handles rain and run off will help keep the trail fast, safe, and fun for riders and trail users of all abilities, and will improve the winter grooming as well! 

This group meets every Wednesday at 4pm at Bunker Hill and will systematically address sections of the trail until it's completed. If you want to participate in large-scale, visible improvements to the trail, join us!