By HANNAH BRENNER
Capital News Service
LANSING — A ribbon-cutting ceremony has marked the opening of a new segment of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on the Leelanau Peninsula.
But a delay in delivering parts for a boardwalk over Narada Lake means that it is not yet fully in use, said Lee Jameson, the facility manager at the lakeshore park.
Work on the segment is expected to continue through the fall and possibly into next spring.
When finished, the latest addition to the bicycle and ski trail at Sleeping Bear Dunes on Lake Michigan will run 3.6 miles from Port Oneida to Bohemian Road. That will bring the current length to 17 miles of asphalt, boardwalk and gravel.
The trail will eventually run 27 miles from Empire northeast about halfway up the Leelanau Peninsula.
Projects like this by the National Park Service require special environmental consideration, Jameson said. An environmental assessment was done before the first segment was completed.
To limit adverse environmental effects, the trail follows existing utility corridors, abandoned roads and a narrow gauge railroad. That minimizes its impact on forested areas and wetlands. Boardwalks are built with helical piles, a more environmentally friendly alternative to cement foundations.
Instead of digging up landscape and pouring permanent cement, the piles screw directly into the ground and can be unscrewed if needed. This results in minimal surface damage and the option to remove most traces of the structure, leaving only a small hole.
Some of the most popular locations, such as the Dune Climb and the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, can be accessed from the new trail and by car.
Hannah Brenner writes for Great Lakes Echo.
By HANNAH BRENNER