High quality of area trail system worth celebrating

There are many ways to enjoy the natural wonders of the area, and just about as many modes of transportation to reach those outdoor offerings.

Perhaps the most enjoyable – as well as healthiest – way to reach the forests, lakeshores, overlooks, streams and other features that attract residents and visitors alike is by foot power, whether it be on a hike or a bike.

In order to practice hiking or biking through the area, though, you must have adequate trails, and Marquette County is getting well known for the wonderful trail systems it has to offer.

To highlight a few of these trails, as well as the activities people enjoy on them, there were a couple special events held last weekend that coincided with National Trails Day being observed on Saturday.

Included was the inaugural Marquette Trails Festival, which offered a variety of events for non-motorized trail users such as mountain bicyclists, hikers and runners.

Activities varied from highly competitive races to leisurely family hikes on the numerous trails that are part of the Noquemanon Trail Network. The festival served as a fundraiser for the NTN, with revenue to be used for single-track trail-building.

Also over the weekend was the unveiling of new informational markers along the Songbird Trail at the Little Presque Isle Recreation Area located off Marquette County Road 550.

With a donation from Lynn and Lon Emerick of Skandia, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources built and installed 10 interpretive signs along the trail, which courses its way through varied habitat along Harlow Creek to the stream’s mouth at Lake Superior.

Besides the well-known NTN and Songbird Trail systems, there are countless other trails that crisscross the region, including those that range from little out of the way paths through rugged terrain to highly developed pathways through towns and cities, such as the Iron Ore heritage Trail that is taking shape.

While varying greatly in regard to how challenging, how remote and what types of natural features are encountered on all these trails, they all have a few things in common.

Included are offering hikers and bikers great exercise, relaxation and clean fresh air while being able to course their way through beautiful natural areas of the region.