2018 Progress on the Hurley Non-Motorized Trail

Hurley, WI – Much has happened in the last year to move the Hurley non-motorized trail forward. In the fall of 2017, the City of Hurley purchased land for the beginning of the trail in Iron County with a grant from the Gogebic Range Health Foundation. The trail was paved from 2nd Avenue (Highway 51) to a new bridge over the Montreal River financed by the “Bridge the Gap” campaign. Bikers and walkers were using the trail to access the Iron Belle Trail as soon as the pavement was in, and since then ICORE volunteers have worked diligently to improve the trailhead on Highway 51 and to develop our own trail on the Wisconsin side of the river.

In May 2018, the Hurley City Council agreed to have Hurley be the governmental entity for grant funding for this project. The Wisconsin DOT also approved a permit for a sign at the trailhead that was installed in June.

ICORE members and other volunteers held a successful Mother’s Day event to plant trees, shrubs, and grass at the trailhead. Some of the plants were supplied by the Iron County Land Conservation office and picnic tables and bike racks were installed with assistance from Amy Nosal and the Iron County UW-Extension. Several weeks later, Hurley teacher Diane O’Krongley brought high school students to the trailhead for more tree planting.

By July 14th signage was installed for a temporary bike trail from the trailhead to Cary Park, and ICORE sponsored a bike tour and picnic at Cary Park to support the trail. Kelly Klein did the cooking and Karen Hageman supervised a stationary blender bike to make healthy fruit drinks. Michigan bikers also helped out with a “duet bike” that operates like an electronically assisted rickshaw. This is a fun machine that provides a bike ride for people who might not otherwise get one.

ICORE volunteers have since installed improved signage on the temporary trail to Cary Park. The trail is mostly gravel going through alleys and along Gold Street. Hurley City workers have been very cooperative in keeping the trailhead mowed and the temporary trail graded.

Recent action by the Hurley City Council will help the trail project move forward. At their meeting on November 13th the Council authorized ICORE to continue to make small improvements to the trailhead, including information kiosks and a temporary 10’x20’ gravel parking lot. The Council also asked their attorney to assist in contacting the railroad regarding the right-of-way.

Iron County Recreational Enthusiasts (ICORE) will host a dinner fundraiser on Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 3:30 to 6:00 PM at Sharon’s Coffee Company in Hurley. The event will feature raffles and silent auctions, and proceeds will support the Hurley non-motorized trail. Tickets are on sale for $15 at Sharon’s Coffee Company, with ICORE members, or by contacting Karen at 715-360-7696.

At the December 2nd event, ICORE will be kicking off a capital campaign to raise funding as well as pledges for future support. Ultimately, ICORE and the Hurley non-motorized trail committee plan to finish the trailhead and turn the old Canadian National Railroad right-of-way into a paved recreational trail. This would be a public resource available to bikers, dog walkers, hikers, parents with strollers and any other non-motorized use.

ICORE members working on the non-motorized trail have been continually gratified by local support, and much more will be needed to make the project happen. Applicable state grants generally require a 50% match by local funds, so significant additional funding will be required for the local match. ICORE has $5000 from previous fundraising and donations set aside for this trail, for which they are very grateful.

ICORE has doubled their membership in the last year and is always seeking more new members. In addition to the Hurley trail, ICORE operates in all parts of Iron County and beyond. They have sponsored skiing, paddling, birding, and plant identification events throughout the county, as well as many lectures on a variety of outdoor subjects. In late September, ICORE volunteers partnered with Hurley science teacher Diane O’Krongley, Hurley School students, North Country Trail members, and the Iron County Forestry Department to redevelop the trail to Corrigan’s Lookout in Saxon, and they will be planning other trail improvement projects in Iron County in the future. For more information on ICORE, visit www.ironcountyoutdoors.org or attend the December 2nd event at Sharon’s Coffee Company.