Explore the Tahqua Trail Project – Michigan

by Kay Kujawa, Hiawatha Shore to Shore Chapter of the NCTA

The Tahqua Trail Project is a five year plan to restore the North Country National Scenic Trail to its original tread along the scenic Tahquamenon River in Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

This section of the Trail is becoming a favorite destination for hikers near and far. Load your day pack, grab you camera and water, and head out to M-123 just north of the Tahquamenon River Mouth in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and turn on Tahqua Trail Road. Find driving directions from your location here.

View Larger Map Here

Twenty-one structures have been built over drainage gullies and wet areas and more than half of the six miles of reclaimed tread has been improved and the small “toe-stubbing” stumps removed.

Taqhqua Trail Michigan

Volunteers work on one of 21 structures built along this 6-mile section of Trail.

The project is open to use and is almost two years ahead of schedule. All the work that remains is the painting of the remaining blue blazes and completion of the trail tread improvements.

You know a project must be a good thing when the second work session the following fall has all but one Roving Crew Member return! The only volunteer missing was ill and unable to attend.

This crew of folks is outstanding. They can adjust to disturbing situations, changes in plans, and obstacles that would drive the average volunteer to throw up his/her hands and head for home! Their work is outstandingly well done and in a timely fashion. Most of the crew is retired and many have had their 70th birthday. These are the volunteers who have worked since 2013 to create a premier hiking experience on the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST).

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Ten of the structures were built during Michigan Trails Week in 2014. During the winter Roger and Diane Clark from Paradise maintained a section for snowshoeing and cross country skiing!

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Hikers cross one of the new structures during a January hike. Photo by Thomas Walker.

This spectacular scenic hike along the proposed national scenic Tahquamenon River is remarkable. At times it winds away from the river only to have you make a turn and be back along the river.

The hike is rapidly becoming a “Destination Hike.” Area residents, visitors, campers, business owners, park rangers, and hikers are spreading the word about this “wonderful adventure.”

Hikers enjoy the trail in January with a snowshoe hike. Photo by Thomas Walker

Mark Glendon, Roving Crew Member from Manistique, worked on all the phases of the construction of the structures. He remarked:

“You can’t help but wonder, when you are busy with a particularly pesky part of a project like this Tahqua Trail reclamation, a bit of board walk thru a nasty wet, or an uncharacteristically stubborn stump, just what it is that possesses mature grown ups to labor to exhaustion in such a place or over such a thing…..But when you walk and enjoy the whole of it on an early October day it becomes quite clear what a rewarding experience you’ve been part of and appreciate the vision that drove this thing from beginning to end.”

Tahqua Trail

Merri Carol Wozniak, Kay Kujawa, Leslie Akers, Tracey Gibson (hidden), and Janelle ( Tahquamenon Falls State Park employee that came on her day off from work) enjoy “The Boat On The Trail.” Photo by Thomas Walker

And then there are two words from Vikki Bathurst, a cottage resident on Tahqua Trail. She stated, “Amazing! Magnificent!”

Taqhqua Trail North Country Trail

The views along the entire river are spectacular, even in winter! This view of the Upper Tahquamenon Falls captured by Thomas Walker was taken from the NCNST. Hike the Tahqua Trail project area and then stop and visit the Falls.

Upcoming Event:

Join the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore, Jordan Valley 45, and Chief Noonday Chapters of the NCTA at the Quiet Water Symposium, March 6, 2016 at the Michigan State University Pavilion.
Location: The Pavilion for Livestock and Agriculture Education (Map: Farm Lane, south of Mt Hope – on the campus of MSU
Time: 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Admission: $10 for adults; 12 and under free

A Quiet Water Society grant partially funded the Taququa Trail Project, and the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter will make a short presentation about the project at 4 p.m. in the Betsie Room (Classroom B). Be sure to visit the NCTA booth and learn more about the North Country National Scenic Trail while attending the symposium.

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