Little Presque Isle, U.P.
DNR issues final Little Presque Isle trails plan
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently issued its final decision on non-motorized trails designations at Little Presque Isle, a popular recreation site located a few miles northwest of Marquette in Marquette County.
DNR staff has finalized a timeline for work on trails and signing expected to begin this spring.
“We are pleased to announce these new trails designations, which will help protect valuable natural resources and provide greater recreational opportunities at Little Presque Isle,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer.
A total of 17.2 miles of mountain bike trail will be designated for the non-winter biking season. In addition, 10.7 miles of winter fat tire bike route will be designated for riding from Dec. 1 to May 1.
“The winter fat tire biking routes will be in effect beginning next winter,” Pepin said. “Those routes will provide access to the Lake Superior shoreline and provide a looped riding experience.”
Through a previous public process during the 1990s, 19 miles of hiking trails were approved for Little Presque Isle.
A map shows the winter fat tire bike routes designated at Little Presque Isle. In May 2015, the Friends of Harlow submitted a trails proposal to the DNR, seeking designation of 19.7 miles of non-motorized, multi-use trails at Little Presque Isle. However, with hiking already a permitted use at Little Presque Isle, the proposal was evaluated for designating mountain biking use on the existing hiking trail, as well as some new trails, which were created informally by the public. A core team of DNR field professionals compiled information and evaluated conditions along the proposed trails, before unveiling an initial plan last September and soliciting written public comments.
More than 100 comments were submitted and reviewed.
“We made some changes to our initial recommendations based on that important input from the public,” Pepin said.
Several groups expressed an interest in partnering with the DNR on additional signing for the area, along with trail development and maintenance. For more information on the Little Presque Isle non-motorized trails review and Michigan trails, visit: www.michigan.gov/trails.
Stats behind 2016 cycling deaths in Chicago
Half of the people killed while riding their bicycles in Chicago in 2016 had four things in common, according data released by city officials Wednesday.
• They were not male – even though 70 percent of Chicago’s regular bicyclists are men (A small fatality sample size affected this.);
• They were younger than 30;
• They were struck by the driver of a large commercial vehicle making a turn or merging into traffic;
• And they died during the morning rush hour.
For the full article go here: www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170309/humboldt-park/bicycle-crashes-bike-fatalities-advisory-council-vision-zero
In all, six bicyclists died in crashes in Chicago during 2016, down slightly from the seven who died in 2015, according to data presented by Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld. Two were women and one, Lisa Kuivinen, identified as non-binary.
“It is a problem across the city,” Scheinfeld said.
One bicyclist was killed early in 2017 – a man who died Jan. 11 in Humboldt Park. The driver of the car was not ticketed in connection with the fatal crash, officials said.
Scheinfeld pledged city officials would step up their efforts to achieve the city’s goal of eliminating death and serious injuries from traffic crashes by 2026 as part of the mayor’s Vision Zero campaign.
Only one of the fatalities occurred in a marked bicycle lane, according to the data. Charles Billows, the director of security for the city’s Department of Finance, which is charged with enforcing parking laws, said the city would step up efforts to ticket vehicles that block bicycle lanes.
About 15 traffic enforcement aides already patrol the city on bicycles, Billows said. Another 20 will be hired in the coming months, Billow told the council.
Roughly 1,300 tickets were issued in 2016 to vehicles blocking bicycle lanes, most for double parking, Billow said.
Bicyclists who encounter a blocked lane should call 311, as city officials can assign agents to patrol areas that are the subject of a number of complaints.
Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District
Wisconsinites want their nature preserved
A new poll released in March shows people in Wisconsin care about their environment.
“This poll proves something we already understand: Wisconsinites care deeply about public lands, clean drinking water, and protecting our Great Lakes,” Kerry Schumann, Executive Director of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, said. “Still, despite the quantifiable positive impacts on Wisconsin’s economy, environment, and quality of life, these attacks continue at both the state and federal level.”
Voters from Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district overwhelmingly agree there are significant benefits to Wisconsin’s economy and quality of life from continued investments in protecting public lands, drinking water, and the Great Lakes. Some highlights of the 519 voters polled by Public Policy Polling March 9-10 include:
• 73 percent oppose selling off national public lands, like national forests, national monuments, and wildlife refuges.
• 55 percent oppose proposed budget cuts to the Department of Interior and a hiring freeze, which could mean fewer park rangers, fewer wildland firefighters, limited wildlife monitoring, and a limited ability to address the backlog of maintenance needs in America’s National Parks.
• 62 percent oppose proposed 97 percent decrease in money to clean up the Great Lakes.
• 60 percent oppose President Trump’s order for the EPA to rescind clean water rules, a move that would reduce protections for 60 percent of the nation’s waters from toxic pollution, affecting the drinking water of 117 million.
This striking data is profound because 51 percent of those polled voted for President Trump – a clear indication that protecting public land, water, and the Great Lakes is a bipartisan priority in Speaker Paul Ryan’s district.
“We call on Speaker Ryan to stand up for his constituents and protect the places we love, the water we drink, and our amazing Great Lakes,” Schumann said.
North Country Trail Route Legislation Returns in 2017 Congress
Legislation to authorize the “Arrowhead Reroute” of the North Country National Scenic Trail has been re-introduced in the new Congress in 2017. For more than a decade, trail advocates have worked to include the Superior Hiking Trail, Border Route Trail and Kekekabic Trail in the route of the North Country Trail. The requested route, incorporating the world-class hiking experiences of northeast Minnesota, has been approved by the National Park Service and supported by the associated trail organizations, natural resource agencies, and local chambers of commerce along the route. The approval of Congress for this National Scenic Trail route will be the final step.
The North Country NST Route Adjustment Act, H.R. 1026 and S.363, was previously passed by the U.S. Senate in 2016, but did not advance to a floor vote in the House. The North Country Trail Association worked with Rep. Rick Nolan and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven to re-introduce the bill, which also extends the trail route in Vermont to link with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The initiative has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.
North Country Trail Association advocates are currently working to engage all federal legislators along the route of the NCT to co-sponsor the bill. Trail supporters can visit www.northcountrytrail.org/house-advocacy for an up-to-date list of co-sponsors, as well as tools to assist in communicating with members of Congress about the importance of finalizing the route of the North Country Trail.