Recent real estate transactions improve western UP trail access

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger recently approved two real estate transactions that have secured permanent trail easements, which will help ensure trail connectivity in the western Upper Peninsula.

These permanent trail easements, totaling 67 miles at a purchase price of $985,969, contribute to DNR and division goals and strategies by providing additional public recreation opportunities and securing trails for future generations.

“This certainly is good news,” said Ron Yesney, U.P. trails coordinator with the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division. “Having permanent trail easements is an important advance for our western Upper Peninsula trail network.”

In the first of the two transactions, the DNR purchased 56 miles of 30-foot trail access in portions of Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron and Ontonagon counties.

The recreational trail easements were acquired from the Keweenaw Land Association of Ironwood at a cost of $832,969, funded through the Michigan Permanent Snowmobile Easement Fund.

The land will be managed by the Upper Peninsula Region of the Trails Section of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, in conjunction with seven snowmobile clubs and three off-road vehicle clubs.

“Keweenaw Land Association is proud to be a partner with the DNR, local trail networks and users in the Upper Peninsula,” said Keweenaw Land Association President Mark Sherman. “We are excited to work with the DNR to ensure that trails in the western Upper Peninsula are permanently available for future generations to enjoy.

“We recognize the important economic role that recreational trails play in our communities … KLA has been an Upper Peninsula company for many generations and we care about the viability of our communities and people.”

The bulk of the acquired mileage is currently for snowmobile use. Yesney said there may be some future opportunity to expand to multi-use designation for the trail segments, but that will require a trail proposal process and permission from adjoining landowners.

Under terms of the second transaction, the DNR acquired 11 miles of 30-foot trail easement in Ontonagon County, at a purchase price of $153,000, from Lyme Timber LLC of Hanover, New Hampshire. The purchase was financed through the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

This multi-use easement will be managed by the Trails Section of the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division, in conjunction with the MI-TRALE ORV Club and the North Country and Superior snowmobile clubs.

“Trail networks deliver great benefits to the public and support the local tourism economy,” said Lyme Timber CEO Jim Hourdequin. “The trail segment in Ontonagon County has been enjoyed by local communities for a long time, and we are pleased to have worked with the DNR to provide people a permanent place to recreate and experience the beauty of our natural resources.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the DNR over the coming years to permanently protect additional trail networks across Lyme’s ownership in the Upper Peninsula.”

To see maps of the trail sections involved, click on the hyperlinks above or see the December agenda for the Michigan Natural Resources Commission at

For more information on recreational trails in Michigan, visit