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June 2022 Equestrian Update

COURTNEY CAMPGROUND EQUESTRIAN CONVERSION – GRAND OPENING

We are enjoying the accomplishments that our Equestrian Committee has worked so hard on for a number of years. We celebrated together with the Ottawa National Forest at the May 21st Grand Opening of the Equestrians Campsites at the Courtney Lake Campground. Thanks goes out to everyone who helped with the “Red Tape”, plans and the hands-on work to get the campground, trails and river crossing ready for this summer’s riding season: MI-TRALE, Freedom Reins Horse Club and Ottawa National Forest.

Barbara Van Alstine, ONF District Ranger and Janet Miesbauer, MI-TRALE Vice President performed the ribbon cutting. Snacks, soft beverages and cake was enjoyed by all. Sincere words of appreciation were exchanged among all that were there. It was a wonderful event, and we are still celebrating.

We shared stories, some history of the trail projects and of the very large trees we removed from the trails. Most logging sales are complete, so maps and trail markers are back in place. The event gave us the opportunity to discuss current projects and share ideas and make plans for upcoming improvements. Our great working relationships continues. So many caring people have contributed. We cannot thank them enough.

 

FALL 2021 EQUESTRIAN NEWS UPDATE – TRAILS AND CAMPGROUND

COURTNEY EQUESTRIAN CONVERSION PROJECT

Yes, we are very excited to announce that there has been a lot progress this year on The Courtney Campground Equestrian Conversion Project. We had all the plans and reviews in order and The Ottawa National Forest (ONF) offered funding through The Great American Outdoors Act, provided by the TPCD (Timber Sales Pipeline backlog funds). ONF offered 6 campsites to be set up for horses. There is a lot of work behind the scenes to accomplish such an undertaking. MI-TRALE volunteers worked with ONF for a few years toward goals, and were able to kick in gear this past summer. We and hit the ground and got a bunch done. The grant was closed in late September. Here is what was accomplished:

-A contractor cleared way and improved the ground where horses will be tied or corralled

-MI-TRALE installed high lines at three sites

-MI-TRALE installed corrals at three sites

-Installed a hitching post at each of two latrines and at campground entry’s kiosk

-Built and installed a mounting block

-Posted some signs at the campground. We will finish in the spring.

ONF will be installing a new kiosk and posting campground rules. This will be such a friendly place. Cannot wait to light the fire and relax, and ride the trails.

GRAND OPENING OF THE COURTNEY EQ CAMPSITES – tentatively set for May 21st 2022. Some of us will be camping there with our horses and we will find a way to celebrate with ONF and all of our Trails Buds!

FIRESTEEL RIVER CROSSING

Let’s not forget, you can now travel from the northern to the southern loops of the trail. Such a great improvement for us all.

LOGGING

There is still a small amount of logging out there. As you can imagine the trails look quite different after a logging project, but it offers wider and improved trails for us to enjoy.

TRAIL MAINTENANCE

Berms are still on the trails, but not keeping folks from riding. We hope to have them removed for next year. Once the loggers are done, we will put all the maps and confidence markers back out on the trails. A section of the trail east and south of the campground needs regular maintenance: clearing brush and checking on signs. And of course, we will check all the trails.

TRAILS NORTH OF HWY M-38 CONSIDERED

We are still considering a proposal to develop horse trails north of the highway. Most of the suggested routes are DNR roads, and will be quite easy to develop. Many of our local equestrians have already ridden there and given us a “thumbs up”.

If you have any questions about any of our projects or would like to join us to help, don’t hesitate to let us know. Your support is appreciated.

 

THERE ARE LOTS OF NICE FOLKS OUT ON THE TRAILS. ENJOY!

2020-2021 EQUESTRIAN TRAILS & CAMPING NEWS

We have had a very mild winter. Spring is just around the corner. We are waiting for summer riding and to enjoy the great trails here in the Western Upper Peninsula. Over the past year, MI-TRALE’s Equestrian Committee has been very busy. Behind the scenes, we are again joining discussions about more camping opportunities for equestrians and working to expand our list of places to ride, both on the Ottawa and on DNR properties. Upon the scene, we have good news to share.

THE COURTNEY EQUESTRIAN TRAILS READY TO RIDE – BECAUSE OF VOLUNTEERS

Arlyn and Sandy are cross country ski activists and MI-TRALE’s new friends on the trails, who are trained to clear trails and public use areas for National Parks and Recreations.  Their standard is a proactive approach to clearing trails, which means expertly clearing everything within a 10 ft span, and hauling debris 20 or so feet off trail. So pretty. We appreciate learning better ways to do things. Thank you Arlyn and Sandy.

If you have been keeping up with the news, the trails had not been fully maintained for a few years, largely because of active logging sales. We have been working hard to regain ground. Thanks to the mild winter, we were able to work through December, getting trails ready for winter recreation. With trails revived, hikers, cross country skiers and those on snow shoes have been able to enjoy the beauty of the forest.

How long does it take? This past summer 5 people spent 3 hours on a 1 mile stretch of the trail, later 5 more volunteers completed the task. On that on mile we logged over 75 hours of manpower. It was all hands-on work. Volunteers ranged from age 8 to 80. We truly appreciate the dedication and kind efforts of all the volunteers. Of course, now that logging projects are done, we spent many more hours maintaining the 14+ miles of trails, including reinstalling confidence markers and maps on the trails. There are three berms, but one can get past them. With a few more volunteer hours this spring, the trails should be in top shape.

 

COURTNEY LAKE CAMPGROUND – WITH HORSES

The ambitions and efforts of The Ottawa National Forest (ONF) has brought us more exciting news. We hope to see the campground open to horses this summer. We are anxious to team up with them to install high lines and hitching posts. More, if funds allow. There will be some rules of course for safety and enjoyment within the campground. This has been in the works for a number of years. We are so happy about it.

DID YOU SEE THE FIRESTEEL RIVER CROSSING?

The River Crossing is beautiful. This intensive project was solely provided by The Ottawa National Forest. It offers greater opportunities for equestrians, while protecting both the river and surrounding area environmentally. This crossing is the link between the north and south sections of the trails. It completes the system, allowing riders easy access to trails on the south side of the river. Gates on the trails leading to the crossing, both north and south of the river, prevent motorized use of the area.  Crossing water on motorized vehicles is against the law in Michigan, protecting the waters and the fish and others that live there.

OTHER DISPERSED AND POSSIBLE DESIGNATED HORSE CAMP GROUNDS ON THE OTTAWA:

And, we are not stopping there. This past summer we had fun driving around, seeking more places to camp and ride with horses. ONF has suggested a few places. As we work on our list, we consider some older campgrounds that are no longer up and running. There is no potable water, electric or latrines at those sites. Yet, they are open for public use. Some are near lakes and streams with logging tracs and Forest Service roads to ride. This summer we will continue this quest as we develop our list of places to enjoy. If you want to join the fun of exploring with us, do not hesitate to call.

WE ARE ADDING TO “The Bucket List”

-Paulding Pond through woods to the LL (a multiuse trail – is under repair at this time)

-North of M-38 across from the Courtney Lake area (where we are proposing new trails on DNR property)

-South of Courtney on some of our favorite sandy back roads (very pretty out there…mostly sandy roads)

-Himanka Hill Area 3 miles south of Bruce Crossing

-Rail road trestle ride (there are a few locations with trestles)

-Lake Superior Misery Bay

-Alligator Eye out look near Lake Gogebic (we would like to explore this area)

-Kill Deer Lake

-Tepee Lake Campground

AGAIN, IF YOU ARE WONDERING HOW TO SHARE THE TRAILS WITH OTHERS, here is what we suggest: take it easy, keep speeds low, watch ahead and behind…expect to meet others, be safe, have fun and enjoy the encounters with others. “Yield” to others for safety and courtesy on the trails: ORV’s yield to all other users, bikers yield to hikers and horses, hikers yield to horses. Stopping, turning your engine off and “speaking” to horses will let them know that you are a person…and not a threat to their safety. At times they do not recognize helmets or machines, but they recognize people and feel safe with them.

Please consider helping us out… We would appreciate it. Our contact information is listed below…

Happy trails everyone.

Cathy Wainio, EQ Director

H#906-988-2232

Email:  cndwainio@yahoo.com

Janet Miesbauer, EQ Committee and Public Relations MI-TRALE

UP Representative for Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources EQ Trails Subcommittee Cell/Text: 906-231-6424

Email:  mitrale.pr@gmail.com

Linda Schulz, EQ Committee and MI-TRALE Secretary

Email:  mi-trale@runningbearresort.com

Cathy Wainio EQ Director Reports:

EQUESTRIAN TRAILS NEWS

11-1-2020 What happened in the last several months…

COURTNEY PROJECTS:. 

-We visited The Courtney Trails several times for much needed maintenance.  We replaced signs, maps and confidence markers.  We are now able, since several logging sales are complete. Loggers have left behind berms that need to be removed and exposed roots, posing a tripping hazard.  There is a stretch of the trail, we have not gotten to yet.

-The loggers have opened up the trails and some great views overlooking deep river ravines.  So pretty.

-Janet and I placed one geocache on the trails.  Holding off on more because of logging operations

-Visited the ski trails that ONF has suggested that equestrians share with skiers.  It is a beautiful area and much appreciated, added about 3 miles to the trails.

-Visited the new River Crossing.  It is epic; picturesque.

-The river crossing is closed to motorized traffic. There are gates placed on the north and south roads that lead to the river, with a post set to the side for horses and hikers to pass through.

-In that gate passage and on front and back of the gate poles are large metal reflectors and metal arms that secures them to gates.  Both have rather sharp edges and could prove a danger to horses legs and riders.  We have suggested they be removed and replaced with industrial grade reflector tape.

-We still have 80 yards of stock piled gravel. There are a couple locations to use it.

-We thought to use that gravel near the river crossing, as the road on the south side had such deep mud, it was impassable for horses and even hiker.  However, the contractor that put the crossing in place, was to improve that trail. So, our resources are still in tack.

-As previously reported. ONF with our help, has put together an application for National Forest Service funding.  The funding is for improvements and repairs on recreational properties.  The intent is for the campground.  We have not heard anything yet.

DISBURSED AND OTHER CAMP GROUNDS FOR HORSES ON ONF:

Per ONF suggestion, we have checked out 4 “closed” campgrounds and other disbursed camp sites between the US2 and M28 corridors, to see if we would like to use them for horses.  At these sites, there is no potable water or latrine.  We determined to seek for camp locations that also offered trails to ride.  Janet and I ventured out to check on them one day. Dick and I went on another.  We will be making our suggestions to ONF at some point in the future.  We gained insight and some great ideas.

POSSIBLE FUTURE EQ CAMPGROUND:

Not many days after Amber called me to ask what we thought about making Tepee Lake a Horse Campground.  There is new forest vegetation project in the works, and as we know logging can open up opportunities.  What a coincidence, Janet and I had just been there, and we like it.  So that is a possibility.  We are hopeful.  Near that campground are small waterfalls and more that may be good places to ride.  Things are happening.

DNR TRAIL PROPOSALS, NORTH OF THE COURTNEY EQ TRAILS:

We have GPS’d the trail, found a location for a highway crossing, and a possible new location for a shared trailhead.  All has been discusses with ONF, as they may need to collaborate with the DNR.  Stay tuned.

DNR & The Equine Trail Subcommittee: 

Janet and I joined a conference call recently, about a law proposal for setting up a new commission to manage fund for equestrians.  There were several other ideas for developing a system of funding that people are working on.  We will be joining another conference call in the near future to discuss needs on horse trails that we help to manage for the DNR.  We will report on that later.

We had several volunteers working on Ottawa for EQ recreation this year: Janet, Dick, myself, and Brianna, Mason and Gavin, our three grandchildren.  They love using nippers and loppers and working in the woods with us.  In all we pulled off 193 volunteer hours: work on the trails, phone calls, meetings, & emails with ONF, researching costs for the campground and checking out possible campgrounds for horses.

We have greatly enjoyed the progress and appreciate the confidence that ONF has in us

2019-2020 EQUESTRIAN TRAILS NEWS

The snow is rather deep up here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. But the horses take it in stride. Where the snow is not so deep and weather permits, many enjoy winter rides. And some use the time to retrain the horses and make plans for the summer riding season. MI-TRALE is using the time to plan for your recreational enjoyment. There are plans and there is work to do. Let’s talk about it.

1) COURTNEY EQUESTRIAN TRAILS & LOGGING –Yes, loggers work through the winter months. Not much has changed since the last notice. There are several logging sales on or near the trail system. Of the two on the eastern trails surrounding the lake, one is complete and the other is 95% complete. There, confidence markers are back in place, but there are is a berm and a small blockage that you will need to go around. You will find maps at the trail head that will tell you about the locations of the active logging projects. Ride in respect of the loggers and please be safe. We will keep you posted as more trails are cleared and logging sales are completed. The loggers have done a great job of opening up the roads that the trails are on, changing the appearance considerably. Also be aware that other roads that were rather hidden are now opened up. Feel free to explore, but don’t be surprised that it may not be clear where the actual trail is until we are able to replace confidence markers and maps. Remember almost all of the markers will be on carsonite posts instead of trees. Printable maps showing the trail route are available on the MI-TRALE and Ottawa National Forest web sites.

The river crossing is still on the table and will be considered after logging projects are complete.

Day by day things change as loggers harvest and effect the trail. We plan to ride and get a good report together for you in the spring. In the spring we will also be calling on volunteers to help maintain certain areas of the trail to make them read to ride. Since this newsletter will only go out once each year, you should stay tuned to our face book or web for updates.

2) COURTNEY LAKE CAMPGROUND BECOMING HORSE FRIENDLY – EXCITING NEWS!!! This project is still in the works. We have a good understanding of what is needed. We are working out the details and the cost of bringing in equipment for some of the campsites. We will be calling on volunteers to help. Looking forward to it.

3) ONTONAGON COUNTY’s Recreation Area – (plans are for both horse and ATV trails) The site is on county property on Himanka Road south of Bruce Crossing. This past summer MI-TRALE volunteers rode and checked out the project possibilities. This project seems to be resting, but the existing rough trails and logging tracts are being enjoyed by many.

4) CAMPING WITH HORSES –You can always camp in the forest or along the forest roads, as a “disbursed camper”. Check out the Ottawa National Forest or DNR webs for info.-Links are provided under the Resources Tab – Also there are area Resorts; google them for locations and call them. There are many that are horse friendly. Some on lakes or rivers with fire pits, etc. Check them out!

5) HORSE RIDES YOU CAN TAKE or AREAS TO EXPLORE– We will keep this list going…“The Bucket List” There are no definite days set for MI-TRALE horse rides. Visit MI-TRALE’s face book page for announcements, or add these to your personal list of great places to ride…

-Paulding Pond through woods to the LL (a multiuse trail – is under repair at this time)
-North of M-38 across from the Courtney Lake area (where we are proposing new trails on DNR property)
-South of Courtney on some of our favorite sandy back roads (very pretty out there…mostly sandy roads)
-Himanka Hill Area 3 miles south of Bruce Crossing (logging will soon be done – we can then explore)
-Rail road trestle ride (there are a few locations with trestles)
-Lake Superior Misery Bay
-Alligator Eye out look near Lake Gogebic (we would like to explore this area)
-Himanka Hill area south of Bruce Crossing

GET YER SADDLES OFF THE WALL PEOPLE! Get ready for spring and another great riding season.

AGAIN, IF YOU ARE WONDERING HOW TO SHARE THE TRAILS WITH OTHERS, here is what we suggest: take it easy, keep speeds low, watch ahead and behind…expect to meet others, be safe, have fun and enjoy the encounters with others. “Yield” to others for safety and courtesy on the trails: ORV’s yield to all other users, bikers yield to hikers and horses, hikers yield to horses. Stopping, turning your engine off and “speaking” to horses will let them know that you are a person…and not a threat to their safety. At times they do not recognize helmets or machines, but they recognize people and feel safe with them.

Please consider helping us out… We would appreciate it. Our contact information is listed below…

Happy trails everyone.

Cathy Wainio, EQ Director
H#906-988-2232
cndwainio@yahoo.com
Janet Miesbauer, EQ Committee and Public Relations MI-TRALE
UP Representative for Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources EQ Trails Subcommittee Cell/Text: 906-231-6424
Email: MITRALE.PR@GMAIL.COM
Linda Schulz, EQ Committee and MI-TRALE Secretary

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