Letters 10-17-2016

Here’s The Truth The group Save our Downtown (SOD), which put Proposal 3 on the ballot, is ignoring the negative consequences that would result if the proposal passes. Despite the group’s name, the proposal impacts the entire city, not just downtown. Munson Medical Center, NMC, and the Grand Traverse Commons are also zoned for buildings over 60’ tall...

Keep TC As-Is In response to Lynda Prior’s letter, no one is asking the people to vote every time someone wants to build a building; Prop. 3 asks that people vote if a building is to be built over 60 feet. Traverse City will not die but will grow at a pace that keeps it the city people want to visit and/or reside; a place to raise a family. It seems people in high-density cities with tall buildings are the ones who flock to TC...

A Right To Vote I cannot understand how people living in a democracy would willingly give up the right to vote on an impactful and important issue. But that is exactly what the people who oppose Proposal 3 are advocating. They call the right to vote a “burden.” Really? Since when does voting on an important issue become a “burden?” The heart of any democracy is the right of the people to have their voice heard...

Reasons For NoI have great respect for the Prop. 3 proponents and consider them friends but in this case they’re wrong. A “yes” vote on Prop. 3 is really a “no” vote on..

Republican Observations When the Republican party sends its presidential candidates, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people with a lot of problems. They’re sending criminals, they’re sending deviate rapists. They’re sending drug addicts. They’re sending mentally ill. And some, I assume, are good people...

Stormy Vote Florida Governor Scott warns people on his coast to evacuate because “this storm will kill you! But in response to Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that Florida’s voter registration deadline be extended because a massive evacuation could compromise voter registration and turnout, Republican Governor Scott’s response was that this storm does not necessitate any such extension...

Third Party Benefits It has been proven over and over again that electing Democrat or Republican presidents and representatives only guarantees that dysfunction, corruption and greed will prevail throughout our government. It also I believe that a fair and democratic electoral process, a simple and fair tax structure, quality health care, good education, good paying jobs, adequate affordable housing, an abundance of healthy affordable food, a solid, well maintained infrastructure, a secure social, civil and public service system, an ecologically sustainable outlook for the future and much more is obtainable for all of us...

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Take a hike...The North Country Trail

Mike Terrell - October 19th, 2009
Take a Hike
The North Country Trail is the nation’s newest long distance trail

By Mike Terrell 10/19/09

What is four feet wide and thousands of miles long?
The North Country Trail, and it’s coming near your neighborhood.
The NCT stretches about 4,600 miles over seven states from the New York/Vermont border through the Adirondack Mountains, around the Great Lakes and across the Mississippi River to Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota. Over 1,100 miles of the long trail meanders through Michigan’s two peninsulas, which is one of the longest segments among the seven states.
The pathway is the nation’s newest – and longest – long distance hiking trail; twice the length of the famed Appalachian Trail. The NCT is now one of eight National Scenic Trails designated by congress.

It was born in 1980 when Congress passed legislation creating the new trail, and it has grown thanks to the support of thousands of volunteers through local chapters that take care of sections of the trail. In just a scant 29 years, over half of the trail has already been completed. Where it’s not, long distance hikers have to use back roads to fill in the gaps. It took over 80 years to complete the Appalachian Trail.
I interviewed a young man, Andrew Skurka, during the winter of 2004/05 who was doing a transcontinental hike utilizing the full length of the NCT and other long distance trails to complete his trek. It was January and I caught up with him in Mesick. He had started hiking in August from the east coast and figured that the Straits of Mackinac was his halfway point across the continent.
“Most Americans can identify the crown jewels of long distance hiking, but many don’t know about this trail yet,” he said as we talked. “It’s a beautiful trail. It offers superb scenery and lots of local flavor as well. It connects communities, but still offers lots of solitude.
“If you want to see a cross-section of American life, take a hike on the NCT. The people I’ve met along this hike have been a great support, especially the hiking clubs that take care of the trail.”
Four local chapters of the NCT Association take care of the trail in northwest Michigan from the Manistee National Forest all the way to the Bridge; Spirit of the Woods, Grand Traverse Hiking Club, Tittabawassee, and Harbor Springs. Between them they maintain close to 300 miles of trail, which takes lots of volunteer hours.

Arlen Matson, who lives in the Grand Traverse Region, has been working on the trail since the mid-1980s. He won’t venture a guess on how many hours over the years he has spent on trail work, saying only, “It would probably be astounding to even me.”
Last summer the club spent about 1,400 man hours of work rerouting an eight-mile section of trail along Hodenpyl Dam Pond to get it off long stretches of county roads. This is typical of chapter activities where constant reroutes are in process to keep the trail in the woods and off roads.
“Nobody likes hiking along a road, especially if you’re on a multi-day hike,” pointed out Matson. “You like scenic woodlands, lakes, rivers to hike along; a place that’s peaceful and quiet.”
The nice thing about the NCT is that you don’t have to be a long distance hiker to enjoy the trail. Most hikers use the trail for scenic day treks.
With the NCT in close proximity to several communities along its length in northwestern Lower Michigan, it offers lots of opportunities for splendid day hikes with a variety of scenery to enjoy. Passing through deeply wooded national and state forests, snaking along tall bluffs overlooking the Manistee River, through areas like Muncie Lakes, Sand Lakes Quiet Area, the Jordan River Valley, Chandler Hills, the reroute along the Bear River through Petoskey, the tall hills north of Harbor Springs, and Wilderness State Park, the NCT takes you through some of the finest natural areas in the northwest region.

Following are some recommended day treks from members of the four chapters. Lace up those hiking boots and hit the trail for some of the best views in northern Lower Michigan.
Joan Young, Spirit of the Woods Chapter, likes to hike from the walk-in semi-primitive Bowman Lake campground, located west of Baldwin off Kinney Road. The glacially sculpted kames (small pointed hills) provide a scenic, spirited walk. You head north of the campground on the NCT and return on a trail along the western boundary. It’s about a six-mile loop.
John Heiam, Grand Traverse Hiking Club, likes hiking from Highbanks Rollaway, located south of Kingsley and east of Buckley, off No. 4 Road. The NCT meanders along high bluffs above the Manistee River Valley offering views of 20 and 30 miles. It’s out-and-back hiking, and you can hike as far as you want. It’s 19 miles to M-37.
Dennis Hansen, author of the Trail Atlas of Michigan, likes a section of the trail that runs nine miles from CR-612 to Starvation Lake Road. He says it’s beautiful rolling country with a new visual experience at every turn; distant views, upland hardwood forests, golden aspen, a pond and a lake. It’s near Pickerel Lake State Forest Campground.
Jerry Keeney, Harbor Springs chapter, likes a section of trail in the southern half of Wilderness State Park. Hike from Sturgeon Bay Trail Road over to Lakeview Trail Road along the NCT, which cuts through ancient dune swales, and hike back along Sturgeon Bay beach. It’s around five miles.
Another out-and-back hike that I like is following the trail from Sheck’s Landing on the Boardman River over to Valley of the Giants and return, about a five mile round trip. The trail runs along 22 Mile Creek through the valley, which is populated by an old growth stand of trees. Many are thought to be well over 200 years old.

For more information on the NCT or the four local chapters log onto www.northcountrytrail.org.

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