Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Trail at Bowman Lake is Complete

New Bowman Lake Trail
New Bowman Lake Trail
The new Bowman Lake trail section is now complete. There is an informal parking area where the Bowman Lake trail and the North Country trail cross with a signpost and decals for the Bowman Lake trail.

Back in June of 2006 we asked Baldwin District of the Manistee National Forest if they would consider opening a new trail in the Bowman Semi-Primitive Area using some abandoned and overgrown roads west of the existing North Country Trail section. After discussion and evaluation they agreed early this year.

The new trail, not yet officially named, will run southwesterly from an unimproved parking area along 40th Street, cross the NCT and then turn southeasterly, continuing until it intersects the existing Bowman Lake loop trail. The route is approximately 2.7 miles long and about half way it passes within 100 feet of the NCT, where we have a connector between the two trails. This new trail will allow three loop hike options of (approximately) 1.5, 5.0 and 6.5 miles.

There will also be a secondary route that leaves the new trail, heads west to a wetland area and then curves back around to rejoin the main trail. This was flagged in 2007 but we'll be adjusting the actual location until sometime in 2008 when construction of this segment will start.

The tread is being routed mostly along the old road. We've gone off road only where drainage is very bad. We've wound the trail back and forth along the old road trying to use the highest, best drained portion. We've brought in duff and deadfall to help define the new corridor and disguise the old roadbed.

Regulatory signs are being added and encapsulated maps installed at both ends. We'll be watching the tread and may make a few adjustments next year. The terrain is mostly flat or gently rolling and it looks like it might be decent for cross-country skiing. The area is mature hardwood forest with little to no understory vegetation.

Many thanks to Deb Krieger, Don Dekker and Rich Krieger from the NCTA and Kathy Bietau from the Baldwin District Forest Service who have put in many hours planning and working to get this trail completed. Also a big thank you to Bill Kelly and the summer interns from Baldwin District Forest Service for helping to blaze the trail.

Maps are available from Rich Krieger at or the Baldwin District office.

from newsletter of the Spirit of the Woods Chapter of the North Country Trail Association, Jan 2008 and Oct 2007, by Rich Krieger
See Spirit of the Woods Chapter of the North Country Trail Association
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