ROGERS CITY - As part of a long-term move to extend the Huron Sunrise Trail, members of City of Rogers City Council voted Tuesday to extend its southern end by about 1,000 feet to reach Calcite Road.
In order to extend the trail, the city will enter into an agreement with Carmeuse Lime and Stone, the owners of limestone quarry operations at Calcite, Mayor Beach Hall said. The agreement allows the city to use a small sliver of Carmeuse property to extend the trail from where it currently ends in the city's Little League fields.
The vote to authorize Hall to sign the agreement was unanimous. Council member Deb Greene was absent from the meeting.
Currently, the trail stretches from its terminus in the southeast corner of the city to P.H. Hoeft State Park, a few miles north of Rogers City, Hall said. It continues to Forty Mile Point Lighthouse. It's a favorite for campers at the state park, and even sees use from boaters visiting the city marina who bring their bikes on their boats.
"We've had a lot of people stay an extra day just to go biking," he said.
When the city put the trail in more than 10 years ago, officials approached the quarry's former owners about connecting to Calcite Road on property owned by the quarry but not exploited for limestone or crossed by vehicles. The owners declined, but the current owners were more agreeable.
"We reapproached Carmeuse Lime and Stone a few months ago, and they said, in effect, 'sure,' as long as we cover issues like liability," he said.
The city also will maintain the trail, the cost of which would be minimal, Hall said.
This addition makes it easier for bikers and other trail users to get to Harbor View, a vantage point maintained by Carmeuse where the public can watch freighters and barges load up at the Port of Calcite.
It's still unclear who will build the trail, although City Manager Mark Slown said he believes Carmeuse will do so with volunteered labor and materials. The trail will be paved with crushed limestone, similar to that on the surface of the Northeast State Trail.
While it's only a short addition, the move is another step towards eventually connecting the Huron Sunrise Trail to the Northeast State Trail, Slown said. The Alpena-to-Cheboygan trail runs on the former grade of the Detroit and Mackinaw Railroad, and a spur leaving the main line just west of Posen once ran up to Rogers City. Drivers on US-23 cross the former spur's grade near Williams Road.
In order for this connection to happen, the trail would need to be re-routed from the railroad's former path - right through the middle of an active quarry where enormous dump trucks haul limestone fractured by the occasional controlled explosion, Slown said. These plans are still under way.
"It's just one small piece of it, but it's a start," he said.
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