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      Coming soon: Munising mountain biking

      Munising is a tourist hot spot during any season for outdoor lovers. The city offers a wide variety of activities but will soon be able to cater to one more: mountain biking. There's a new trail in the works thanks to some dedicated volunteers.

      Mountain bikers know that the U.P. is a great place for some great trails. Marquette and Copper Harbor see many mountain bikers every year, but soon bikers will need to make an extra stop in Munising. A group of volunteers is raising money to forge a new trail in the hills surrounding the city. They have already applied for nearly $300,000 in grant money.

      "We're hoping to boost the tourism industry in Munising by having these people come here and enjoy the mountain bike trails that we have," says Mike Verhamme, the trail coordinator.

      The trail is a three-phase project. The first part of the trail will be 5.6 miles long. Over the next few years, it will be extended to more than 26 miles with both advanced and beginner routes. It will also eventually connect with nearby trails. The trailhead will include a 20 car parking lot. There are hopes to include a bathroom if enough funds are raised. Throughout the trail, you will also find several locations for scenic viewing and picnics.

      The Munising trail will also hold something unique--it will be handicap accessible. It will be the only hand-cycling trail in the state of Michigan. The city of Munising will even offer a community hand bike. Many in Munising are excited to see the trail completed.

      "We've given them our full support as a community, as a commission, and the volunteer network has grown exponentially through Facebook and just word of mouth," says Tom Dolaskie IV, Munising City Commissioner.

      Forging the trail will take hard work from many volunteers. So far, there's been great enthusiasm and many have committed themselves, but they're always looking for more help.

      "What we really need is donated labor. We're really looking for people to come out and give us a hand to build these trails. We believe we can get most of the trail built with donated labor this summer," Verhamme adds.

      To lend your hand and/or donate money to the project, contact the City Manager, Doug Bovin, at City Hall, (906) 387-2095. You can also voice your support to those in charge of supplying grant money to the volunteers. The more support they have, the more likely they will be given the grant money. Send simple emails of support to the city's consulting landscape architect Bill Sanders at bill@sanders-czapski.com or to their Anna River Pedaler coordinator, Rob Lundquist at robert.lundquist@neenahpaper.com .