Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Features · The Mackinac Bridge Labor Day...
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The Mackinac Bridge Labor Day Walk

Rick Coates - August 30th, 2010
Striding the Straits: The Mackinac Bridge Labor Day Walk
By Rick Coates
On Labor Day, tens of thousands of walkers will converge on the 53rd Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk. Since there is no fee charged to walk, only estimates are available on how many people participate; organizers guess that on a great year it‘s 60,000 plus, and on an average year, around 45,000. All indications point to this being a great year.
“This has been a great tourism season here in St. Ignace,” said Janet Peterson, executive director of the St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce. “The weather has certainly helped out this year
compared to last year. The Bridge Walk is one of the big events of the year for us; it is sort of the unofficial end of the summer celebration for a lot of people.”
For Peterson and the business community of St. Ignace, the 50,000-plus expected for this weekend will be a huge economic shot in the arm.
“Sometimes people think St. Ignace is just a town you drive through to get to other destinations in the Upper Peninsula,” said Peterson. “But we are also a destination. There is a lot to do here, plus, this is a great place to day-trip when going to the falls, the Soo locks, Mackinac Island and even Mackinaw City. We have a lot going on this weekend with our Arts & Crafts Dockside event Saturday and Sunday with 100-plus exhibits, lots of music and a fireworks show.”

STARTING POINT
St. Ignace is also where the Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk begins, hosted by the Mackinac Bridge Authority.
“If you are coming to St. Ignace for the weekend you may start here, the walk begins around 7 a.m. and you have until 11 a.m. to get started,” said Peterson. “There is bus service that will bring you back to St. Ignace for $5 per person.”
The 2010 Labor Day Bridge Walk is being dedicated to Lawrence A. Rubin, who passed away this year. Mr. Rubin was known to the people of Michigan as an instrumental figure in the construction and leadership of the Mackinac Bridge. He was the executive secretary of the Mackinac Bridge Authority from 1950-1983.
John Rintamaki is the accountant for the Mackinac Bridge Authority and coordinator for the Bridge Walk. So, does Rintamaki use his accounting skills to determine the number of participants each year?
“No, no, we have a couple of formulas we use to come up with our best guesstimate,” said Rintamaki. “We hand out numbered certificates as people finish the walk, plus we look at the number of tickets sold to ride the bus over from Mackinaw City, but not everyone uses the busses or gets a certificate, so we do our best. 65,000 participants has been our best year.”
So what impacts the numbers?
“A lot of things, from weather to campaigning,” said Rintamaki. “The weather looks good and since this is a campaign year we expect attendance to be up. Campaigns and organizations like to get their message out and we are in favor of that. But we do not allow signs or banners to be carried on the bridge for safety reasons.”

BE IN SHAPE...
Speaking of safety, has the walk ever been cancelled?
“No, we have had to delay it a few times over the years,” said Rintamaki. “We monitor the weather very closely every day for safety reasons.”
What should people contemplating doing the walk for the first time take into consideration before attempting?
“Remember that it is five miles and it takes around two hours; if it is hot and humid there is no shade,” said Rintamaki. So I would recommend that all participants make sure they healthy enough and physically in shape to walk that distance.”
While organizing the walk is not a full-time job, Rintamaki says somedays it sure seems like one.
“I work on it year-round but it is usually just a meeting here and there and then it starts picking up in the spring with more meetings. There is a lot of coordination with the Governors office, the National Guard, law enforcement and the many others who help us. By August 1, I am on this full time to get it ready. We have crews out putting up fencing, there are stages to be
set up and lots of porta-johns to arrange for.”

OTHER CROSSINGS
The Mackinac Bridge Walk is the only time that people are allowed to walk over the bridge, but the Bridge Authority does allow for other special crossing events throughout the year.
“We close down one lane for the DALMAC bike ride; we have been doing that for years. For the Bridge Walk we do not allow people to run or jog but the Governor’s Office does take a group at the start for a jog across and you have to sign up in advance and they draw names to determine who gets to jog with the Governor,” said Rintamaki. “We do have a couple of running events and we even have an antique tractor parade over the bridge.”
For details on the 53rd Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk and other events taking place at the bridge, visit the Mackinac Bridge Authority website at www.mackinacbridge.org and for all the happenings in St. Ignace over the weekend check out www.stignace.com

 
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