Return of Industry Brings First Ever Trail-to-Rail Conversion in Michigan

Michigan is a national leader in rail-to-trail conversions, but a mining company in the Upper Peninsula will necessitate the first "reactivation" of a trail in the state. The federal Rails to Trails law sanctions such conversions.

"Michigan leads the nation in the miles of recreational trails converted from abandoned railroad tracks," writes Kathleen Gray. "But come August, the 2,653 miles of trails will shrink by almost two miles when a stretch of trail between Ishpeming and Republic is converted back to rail."

"It’s the first such conversion — called reactivation — in Michigan. And it is one of only about nine nationwide that have happened since the federal Rails to Trails law was signed in 1976."

"And perhaps surprisingly," she adds, "there hasn’t been much pushback from the community, the rails-to-trails activists, or the state, to the proposal to convert 1.9 miles of a 20-mile trail back to rail to accommodate a mining company in the Upper Peninsula."

“'This is how it’s supposed to work,' said Joe Derocha, the supervisor in Humboldt Township where the processing mill is located. 'If the industrial district ever returns, it should be given back.'”

Full Story: 1.9 miles of recreational trails to be converted back to rail in U.P.

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