Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Naperala Receives Jim Mudgett Award from TART

Dick Naperala receives Jim Mudgett Award
Dick Naperala receives the Jim Mudgett Award
(photo from TART)
by Joan H. Young

Dick Naperala is a quiet force for trails in the Traverse City area. He was recently honored by the TART (Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation) Trails for his years of service.

Dick is a founding member of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club, which is also a chapter of the North Country Trail Association. For 15 years he has worked on maintaining over 90 miles of trails near Traverse City.

He is a member of the VASA Trail grooming team, rising early on snowy mornings to prepare the trail for skiers.

People often do not understand how much work behind the scenes is required to put a section of trail on the ground. Dick is one of those individuals who know how to work with agencies to find solutions. He has worked hard with the Michigan DNR to reroute the North Country Trail off the Shore to Shore horse trail. The new route connects Muncie Lakes Pathway with the Sand Lakes Quiet Area.

More recently he has been part of the team which planned and is working to complete another NCT reroute off roads along Hodenpyl Dam pond, with the cooperation and permission of Consumer’s Energy. See North Country Trail Bridge Built near Hodenpyl

Another ongoing project will connect the VASA system to the NCT, and link through to the city of Kalkaska. This will link Traverse City with the NCT, and thus to New York and North Dakota.

It has been my personal pleasure to work with Dick on some of these projects. Although a volunteer his professional attitude goes a long way toward building relationships with agency personnel.

Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation established the Jim Mudgett Award five years ago to honor individuals who have shown both leadership and passion for local trails. When he died in 2004, TART desired to preserve his memory and honor those who follow in his footsteps. Jim Mudgett was a founding member of the TART Trails Board of Directors, and was active with the Leelanau Trail, and Vasa Pathway. He not only promoted healthy living, but even used the trails to commute to work. The award itself is a framed print of pink lady slipper, taken by Mudgett on the Leelanau Trail.

Previous recipients are: Dave Monstrey, George Lombard, June Thaden, Ted Okerstrom, Lois Bahle, and Tim Brick.

See Traverse City Trails
See Grand Traverse Hiking Club
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