Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

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Old Mission Hiking: Beauty in Your Backyard

Beyond its famous wine and vineyards, Old Mission Peninsula is also the region’s hidden hiking gem.

Mike Terrell - May 19th, 2014  

“I wish it were in my backyard,” said Ron Macy, a downstate resident visiting the Traverse City area.

He was standing at the Old Mission Point Park overlook after a recent hike.

“It’s so pristine hiking up here. It’s why I keep coming back. I envy you living up here,” he told me after I said I lived less than a half-hour away.

If your backyard is close, don’t let summer pass you by without checking out these three special spots.

OLD MISSION POINT PARK

The viewing area, marked with a memorial bench, is about halfway between the two trailheads for the upper trail system. They are located off Murray Ridgewood roads and connected by a two-and-a-half-mile graveled trail.

The trail crosses over the peninsula highlands, offering some jaw-dropping views, including views of both bays.

Old Mission Point Park is one of three parks and natural areas located on Old Mission Peninsula that offer a varied collection of trails. The other two are Pelizzari Natural Area and Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve.

Old Mission Point Park contains around 560 acres, which includes Lighthouse Park. The township has a long-term lease on 500 acres of state-owned land, after a state park plan there failed. Lighthouse Park has a few miles of trails on 60 acres at the tip of the peninsula.

The additional state property has allowed the township to connect trails, offering more than six miles of hiking opportunities there.

PYATT LAKE

Pyatt Lake, located just north of Bowers Harbor off Neahtawanta Road, offers a short hike through some of the most botanically diverse natural areas in Grand Traverse County, according to Brad Gerlach, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy stewardship coordinator.

“It was one of the Conservancy’s first land protection projects in the early 1990s, and still remains one of our most important acquisitions,” he said. “The dune ridge is home to more than 250 plant species, and each spring orchids and trillium carpet the forest floor in a sea of color.”

Gerlach said that spring and fall are the the best times to visit, “before the mosquitoes start showing up in great numbers,” he said.

PELIZZARI NATURAL AREA

Pelizzari Natural Area, just off Center Road, a mile from the peninsula’s base, was partially an old family orchard. The orchard is gone, but there are open meadows and beautiful woods to hike through.

Trails meander from Center Road to just above East Shore Drive and East Bay. In the summer you mostly hear songbirds in the meadows and woods, Gerlach said.

An old growth stand of rare climax hemlock trees towers above East Shore Drive. The Lower Meadow Trails, surrounded by tall hills, are also filled with hemlocks, many more than 100 years old.

“There’s about three miles of trails crisscrossing the property, and they are getting a lot of use. In fact, it’s one of our most visited trail systems,” said Gerlach, a conservation specialist. “It’s like an oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of [an area] that houses a lot of people.”

 
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