Posted by Admin on July 7, 2018
By Lori Hauswirth, Executive Director, Noquemanon Trail Network, feature photo by Aaron Peterson
The year was 2001 and Marquette, Michigan is recognized in Bike Magazine as a Top 5 Place to Live and Ride. When determining the top 5 places factors sited included quality of riding, riding season, job market, affordable housing, and cycling culture. In 2001, Marquette was already on the map for all of the above. Flash forward 17 years. Is Marquette still a Top Place to Live and Ride? Arguably, heck yes as a person who just relocated back to Marquette but the area is also enjoying status as a top trail destination thanks to extensive promotion of our world-class trails by Travel Marquette and coming off of hosting the 2018 Bike Magazine Bike Bible Testing in October, 2017. Many current residents will site the Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN) as a primary reason they have chosen to make Marquette County home, employers are using the trails for talent recruitment, and visitors are making repeated trips to explore the region’s trails.
Marquette has become an outstanding example of trails influencing and building community as daily resident activities, local business success, and visitor experiences have become intimately intertwined. Unfortunately, in a community such as ours, people often don’t recognize how things are interconnected and the high level of volunteer commitment and funding needed to sustain quality trails. Not to mention the years of sweat and tears that have gone into building the extensive NTN network. Trail related events such as the Marquette Trails Fest and Marji Gesick or programs such as 906 Adventure Team just wouldn’t be possible without the extensive trail infrastructure. But how do you and I make sure trail organizations such as the NTN continue to thrive? Get involved through NTN membership as a local or a visitor, as a business sponsor, as a volunteer, or by helping introduce potential supporters to the NTN organization. Every little bit helps including simply sharing your trail experiences via social media with the hashtags of #ntntrails, #ntnevents, #northtrails, and #southtrails.
Going into 2018, the NTN has hired me as their new Executive Director to help guide the organization in the coming years. Behind the scenes this Spring, strategic planning with the board of directors is the priority to help better align activities to mission, but on the frontlines the NTN (your NTN) is also looking forward to work on the ground including ongoing trail maintenance, completion of the Yellow Trail that meanders rolling terrain south of Marquette Mountain Ski Area, fundraising for construction of a much needed vaulted toilet at the South Trailhead, and ongoing improvements to the North Trails. In between these activities is an extensive calendar of NTN and other events, some that directly support the NTN mission, a few that donate to the trails, and others that utilize the NTN trails. Another busy season ahead. Whether you are here for good or here for the weekend, if you have ideas for the trails or input for the NTN board, please reach out. Live and Ride Marquette!