Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Easy glider
. . . .

Easy glider

Mike Terrell - December 7th, 2009
Easy Glider
Snowmobile trail busting
in the Boardman River Valley
By Mike Terrell
George VanKersen, one of the volunteer snowmobilers who regularly
helps groom the Boardman Valley Trail, said “it’s time to do a little
trail busting.”  We left the smoothly-groomed snowmobile trail and
followed him down a sun dappled, untracked two-track and out into an
open meadow in the Pere Marquette State Forest southeast of Traverse
City.
The snow was so deep last winter it almost buried VanKersen’s sled.
It was light enough on this crisp January morning to form a cloud that
almost covered him.  Following closely, all I could see bounding
across the open field was the top of his bright blue helmet.
Running on adrenaline and still feeling the exhilaration of our “trail
busting” experience, we continued down a narrow, twisting, snake-like
trail along a bluff overlooking the Boardman River and valley.  Shafts
of sunlight streaming through the dense forest created a strobe-like
effect as it glistened off the freshly fallen snow covered trees.
Maneuvering around a few large cedar trees we broke out along a
treeless section of bluff.  Below the swift-flowing Boardman River
hugged the snowy bluff and an unbroken forest stretched to the
horizon.  A couple of startled deer bounded off into the woods, their
white tails waving like flags in the air.

SNOWMAKING MACHINE
The average snowfall for Traverse City can range from 10 to 12 feet in
depth.  Fortunately it doesn’t come all at once.  Lake Michigan acts
as a gigantic snowmaking machine, and, since the lake hasn’t frozen
completely in recent winters, it continues to pump snow into the
region all winter long; normally a real plus for snowmobiling.  The
sampling we had just experienced is often available midweek mornings.
It was midweek and not too many downstate and out-of-state snowmobiles
were out.  This morning we had the trail to ourselves.  Freshly
groomed, the smooth, “corduroy highway,” as VanKersen called it, was a
delight to ride.  Traveling over 80-some miles that bright January
day, we encountered only a handful of other riders.
Weekends are much different, according to the avid snowmobiler.
“You are more likely to encounter more snowmobilers out enjoying a
ride on the trail, but even then it’s large enough to quickly absorb
them.  It seldom feels crowded, but to make ‘first tracks’ midweek,
that’s special,” he laughed.
Along the way we stopped at the Fife Lake Inn, a popular waterhole
just off the snowmobile trail, for a quick, hearty lunch.  Handling a
snowmobile for a few hours will put a rumble in the old tummy, and
thankfully there are a number of good choices along the Boardman
Valley Trail:  Gordies, also in Fife Lake; the Kingsley Inn, just a
mile off the trail down a groomed spur; Ranch Rudolf, a western-like
compound located right on the trail and river; and VanKersen’s popular
Peegeo’s, located near the High Lake staging area where we started.

TRAILS AROUND TC
The number of stops along the trail system is one of the reasons you
are seeing more families out using the trails around Traverse City,
VanKersen pointed out.
“You know what it’s like traveling with kids.  If you can’t make
frequent stops it’s often not a pleasant experience, and snowmobiling
is no different.  Unlike riding in the UP and Canada, where you can go
50 to 100 miles between towns and stops, you are always within 15
miles or less of a potential cozy rest stop along the 81-mile Boardman
trail system.
“I’ve seen the family snowmobile market really grow in the last few
years.  We serve more pop on winter weekends than beer in the
restaurant.  Maybe it used to be the Hell’s Angels of winter on
snowmobiles in the old days, but that image has changed.  It’s a
family market now; especially around the Traverse City area where you
have so many activities to choose from.
“You can ride hundreds of miles if that’s your desire. Snowmobiling
doesn’t get much better than around the Grand Traverse Region with its
links to other state trails,” he concluded.
 
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