The Delta County Board of Commissioners and Delta County Board of Road Commissioners are requesting your assistance on a proposed local road relocation project by the U.S. Forest Service. County Road 497 was rebuilt in 2008 using federal dollars. County Road 497 is a historical road that was developed in the early 1900s as an access road from the north into Nahma. Before that, this exact route was used by early natives as a trail and later by loggers as they put logs into the river to float down the river to the saw mills.
The reason for the proposed relocation project is that the adjacent Sturgeon River is encroaching upon the county road and was designated in the 1990s as a "Wild and Scenic River." Our local US Forest Service office is carrying our their duties assigned to them by their regional office following regulations that guide work on the Sturgeon and are reluctant at this time to pursue other alternatives that are available.
We are in favor of the alternative methods of natural channel redirection and/or river bank stabilization. The consideration and cost of moving 2,700 feet of new road ($600,000 plus) to resolve 250 feet of river bank erosion ($60,000 or less) is a failure to use local expertise and common sense, not to mention the lack of fiscal responsibility.
In response to this local issue, the Delta County Board of Commissioners and Delta County Board of Road Commissioners held a joint public meeting for input and guidance as to what local citizens thought. The evening meeting was well attended with a nearly full courthouse. All in attendance supported the alternatives and opposed any consideration in relocating and/or moving County Road 497 from its present location based on history, common sense, additional options and fiscal responsibility. It was the opinion of many at the meeting that the US Forest Service is catering to the national environmental movement instead of implement local decisions and fiscal responsibility.
Both the Delta County Board of Commissioners and Delta County Board of Road Commissioners have gone on record as opposing the US Forest Service position of relocating County Road 497. We, and the Upper Peninsula residents that we represent, believe at this time without federal legislative intervention the US Forest Service will move ahead with plans to relocate County Road 497. We strongly oppose this action and request your assistance and intervention to stop this insane misappropriation of federal funds.
For more information, please contact our offices at: Delta County Commissioners - 906-789-5100 or Delta County Road Commission - 906-786-3200.
Thomas Elegeert, chairman Delta County Commissioners
Randolph Bjork, chairman Delta County