Iron Ore Heritage trail designation will help area

The news recently was good for the people that oversee the Iron Ore Heritage trail, a 47-mile, multi-use, year-round trail that connects the sites and stories of the Marquette Iron Range, a significant historical area where iron mines operated to serve the country during the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, World War I and World War II.

The trail, which has garnered significant state and regional attention, has been designated a National Recreation Trail by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan K. Zinke, according to a press release from the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority.

“By designating these new national trails, we acknowledge the efforts of local communities to provide outdoor recreational opportunities that can be enjoyed by everyone,” Zinke said in the release. “Our network of national trails provides easily accessible places to exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas while boosting tourism and supporting economic opportunities across the country.”

Jim Thomas, chairman of the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority, spoke for a lot of people, observing that organizers are honored to be recognized with this national honor, joining the 18 other trails recently designated from California to Vermont.

“We believe we are providing an unparalleled outdoor recreation experience by offering a beautiful trail through Marquette County while interpreting our amazing story of iron mining on the Marquette Range. We are so fortunate to build a trail with some geographic diversity,” he said. “Trail users gain access to marshes, rock bluffs, Lake Superior shoreline, river crossings, urban areas and reclaimed mining property. This designation not only gives us national exposure, but also offers us technical experience and possibly some access to funding.”

The designation comes with trail markers that will be installed along the trail. For a list of newly minted recreation trails and information on each, visit /nationalrecreationtrails/18nrts.html.

The Iron Ore Heritage Trail is another in a long list of reasons people like to visit. It’s an important cog in the area’s economic engine.

This designation will do nothing but enhance all of that.

— The Mining Journal, Marquette