Letters

Letters 02-15-2016

No More Balloon Launches In the recent Wedding issue, a writer noted a trend of celebratory balloon launches at weddings. Balloon releases are nothing more than a wind-born distribution of litter, not an appropriate way to celebrate a marriage or commemorate cancer victims and survivors...

Plenty Of Blame In Flint Many opinions have been voiced about the Flint water crisis; all have left many questions unasked, such as: Lead is the culprit, and a there is a ban on lead in paint, as well as one on lead in new plumbing materials. There are still many service connecting pipes made out of lead in service. Why? Have any been installed despite the ban?

Stop Balloon Releases I was appalled by the column on the wedding traditions article that suggested making new traditions like releasing balloons at the conclusion of the ceremony! I am the president of AFFEW (A Few Friends for the Environment of the World) in Ludington, and we clean beaches four times a year....

Roosevelt Had It Right 202 years ago the British Royal Navy bombarded Fort McHenry during the War Of 1812. While being held captive aboard the HMS Surprise, Francis Scott Key composed the immortal “Star Spangled Banner” poem. 202 years later I ask, “Oh, say can you see” one of the most appallingly dishonest presidential election cycles since the Adams/Jefferson election of 1800...

Avoid Urban Sprawl In Petoskey I urge Resort Township, the City of Petoskey and Emmet County to dissuade Bay Harbor’s proposal to add new business and residential development along U.S. 31 near the main entrance to Bay Harbor...

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Mountain Biking Mackinac Find the ?real? island offroad on 2 wheels

Mike Terrell - August 29th, 2011
Mountain Biking Mackinac: Find the ‘real’ island offroad on 2 wheels
By Mike Terrell

It may be hard to think of Mackinac Island as a mountain biking destination when you think of the crowded village, fudge shops, horse traffic, and the flat, paved ride around the exterior of the island.
However, once you leave the village and climb up into the interior of the rock-bound island, beyond the fort and Arch Rock, the crowds and aroma of cooking fudge quickly disappear. You may see a horse-back rider, but they have their own set of forest trails. It’s a totally different look at this historic, hump-backed island.
After disembarking the boat head over to the island’s Chamber of Commerce information center located along the main street near the ferry docks and pick up a map of the island with all the interior trails. Most of the trails are marked with trail signs and are fairly easy to follow. You’ll see old stone walls and foundations, an old soldier’s garden area cleared in the late 1700s, Skull Cave, and little known treats like Cave-in-the-Woods and Crack-in-the-Island. I’ve found island residents that didn’t know these formations existed.

THE QUIET INTERIOR
During the summer, ferry boats deposit thousands of visitors daily on the island, but you may encounter only a handful up in the forested interior. Most stay in the village area.
The first mile-and-a-half is paved along the eastern bluff of the island. Head up to Huron Road and follow it to Arch Rock and Leslie Avenue; a narrow strip of twisting pavement that hugs the bluff offering views of Lake Huron’s steely blue waters and more islands off in the distance. It’s a cruising delight.
Soon you encounter North Bicycle Trail heading off to the left and the off-road adventure begins. Follow it to Blodgett Trail and eventually head right on Soldier’s Garden Trail, which is a fun, rock-bound ride with dips and small jumps. In about a mile you cross Leslie Avenue and drop down onto Tranquil Bluff Trail, which rolls along a bluff above the north end of the island.
It meanders along the bluff for over a mile. Wild flowers abound along the trail and Lake Huron glimmers through the trees. Often you can hear flatlanders peddling along the paved road below as they circle the island. Along the way you pass Eagle Point Cave, marked on your map. Rocks, roots, and off-camber climbs and descents keep the peddling interesting.

CAVE & CRACK
About five miles into the ride Tranquil Bluff Trail drops down onto British Landing Road, which you follow south – back towards the village – for a short distance to Lydia Trail that exits right off the road. Follow a series of intersecting trails to access Cave-in-the-Woods and Crack-in-the-Island.
Lydia Trail crosses State Road and becomes Straits Trail. At the Y-intersection follow the left fork, this becomes Niki’s Trail. After a short distance it T’s with Partridge Trail. Go left and in a little over a half-mile you come to the two unusual geological formations.
Cave-in-the-Woods shows old lake lines when a great inland sea called Algonquin covered the present Great Lakes. Just in back of the cave is Crack-in-the-Island, a deep fissure in the island’s limestone base.
Continue on the single-track and exit back out onto State Road just north of the island’s airstrip. Turn right and follow it to British Landing Road. Cross it and follow Leslie Avenue for about a half-mile to Scott’s Trail. Follow the single-track south to Jupiter Trail, turn left and end up at the paved portion of North Bicycle Trail and Sugarloaf, a huge monolith rock, and Skull Cave. It is considered sacred by Native Americans. It’s a little over a mile back to the village.
While it may not be as spectacular or quite as isolated as Grand Island near Munising, the mountain biking on Mackinac Island is surprisingly rugged and pristine. Most visitors never see the “real” island.
 
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