Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Features · The Little Traverse wheelway
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The Little Traverse wheelway

Mike Terrell - August 31st, 2009
The Little Traverse Wheelway
Newly-completed 25-mile trail hugs Lake Michigan

By Mike Terrell 8/31/09

The Little Traverse Wheelway, which travels a little over 25 miles from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs, is northwest Michigan’s newest trail-way, and it’s a beauty.
Much of the paved pathway hugs Lake Michigan and Little Traverse Bay shorelines, offering incredible scenic vistas. In addition to the lake views there’s a lot of history attached to the pathway, and much of it is made available at various points along the way; a little history lesson with your pedal.
The last little section, just outside Harbor Springs, is slated to be completed this fall and winter, but presently you can still ride into town via a couple of alternative routes.
The trail starts on the north side of Charlevoix on Waller Road. It passes the MDOT roadside parks on US-31 for your first lake views within about three miles. The panoramic views are outstanding, and the Petoskey stone hunting is even better. Prior to reaching the roadside parks you pass a kiosk that offers a history of the Big Rock Point Nuclear Reactor, which was one of the nation’s first.
The Wheelway passes Bay Harbor, partly along the old rail corridor that used to deposit visitors in these vacation destinations before roads arrived in the area. Cross New England gentility with Nantucket’s harbor-side ambiance and you have Petoskey and Harbor Springs. With downtowns that date back to the days of horse-drawn buggies, steamships and trains, a biking tour is a great way to see them. Both possess a fine collection of Victorian buildings and homes.

“What a pathway. The views are outstanding the whole way,” said Frida Warra, who along with her husband Ron, was visiting friends in the area and had decided to ride the Wheelway.
“We heard about it from our friends and wanted to see it for ourselves. Being from the UP, I wish there were a little less traffic noise along some of the segments. It’s really quiet up where we live, but the scenery along this pathway more than makes up the little bit of traffic noise. It’s beautiful,” she added.
She’s right on both counts. There is normally a lot of traffic along US-31, which the Wheelway parallels through Petoskey, but the scenery for me more than made up for the traffic, and the pathway is buffered from the highway much of the way.
The five-mile section along Bay Harbor, mostly a slight downhill, includes an under-road tunnel and spectacular views of Little Traverse Bay and this exclusive community. From Bay Harbor’s East Park to Petoskey’s Magnus Park it hugs a huge bluff that rises above Little Traverse Bay. Busy US-31 is far above you completely out of sight and muffled. The pathway remains about 50 or so feet above the water along the bluff.
This section of trail, called Resort Bluffs, is only about a mile-and-a-half long, but it’s the crown jewel of the pathway. It was just opened earlier this summer, but worth the wait. Other sections of the trail have been open for a few years. There is an overlook platform, hanging out over the lake, with picnic tables that makes a great place to linger and just enjoy this magnificent, beautiful view.

The pathway continues through Petoskey along the waterfront. It passes historic Mission Church before crossing the Bear River at Bayfront Park, a spur through a pedestrian tunnel takes you into downtown Petoskey. The Pathway continues by Little Traverse Bay History Museum and follows the original location of a late 1800s trail-way between Petoskey and Harbor Springs.
As you pass through Bay View with its elegant summer cottages adorned with gingerbread trimmed turrets and white pillared porches you might picture people riding the large front wheeled old-time bicycles that you would have found during the Victorian era. The stately cottages and historic Inns recall the graciousness of long-ago summers, and where else can you ride along salmon-colored sidewalks?
The Tannery Creek Trailhead, which you pass leaving Bay View, features a beautiful mural that depicts transportation along the Wheelway corridor at various times throughout history.
Presently the Wheelway hugs M-119 from just east of the state park on into Harbor Springs with a little diversion around the airport before ending unceremoniously at Hoyt Street Community Park. There is a good wide shoulder along M-119.
A more scenic ride into Harbor Springs is a duck down Beach Road shortly after passing the state park. Beachside development has walled in the bay view, but much of the road passes through dedicated nature preserves for the various housing associations; much more peaceful and scenic than along busy M-119. The drawback: if you’re riding with children, traffic can be busy, and there isn’t a shoulder along the road.
Plans call for construction to begin this fall on the last section of the Wheelway, which will take it off M-119, according to Danna Widmar, Executive Director of the Harbor Area Regional Board of Resources, Inc.
“It will be a separate trail that will parallel M-119, but off the highway and buffered by trees and vegetation, kind of like what you have along Bay Harbor. It will be much more appealing,” she added. “We anticipate that the Wheelway will bring people into the area just to ride it. Cyclists have been very enthusiastic.”
It already is.

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