The Carp River snowmobile bridge on state snowmobile trail #8 in western Marquette County remains closed due to damage sustained in an unsolved arson case, the Department of Natural Resources said today.
The bridge was burned so extensively by arsonists last summer that repairs will cost more than an estimated $20,000. The Hiawatha Trails Snowmobile Club, which maintains the trail, is working to secure donations to help pay for the repair work and necessary supplies. Current plans indicate repairs will be completed before the end of December, depending on weather and delivery of treated lumber for the bridge.
The trail closure is marked to the east and west of the bridge with signs and barricades. Snowmobilers can get around the bridge closure by utilizing the shoulder of County Road 492.
“The arsonists who damaged the bridge committed a senseless crime that will be very costly to the snowmobile program,” said the DNR’s Western Upper Peninsula recreation specialist Ron Yesney. “Not only does this hurt the local snowmobile club’s trail maintenance program, but it will also prohibit snowmobilers from enjoying this portion of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail for part of the snowmobiling season.”
The Hiawatha Trails Snowmobile Club has received a $10,000 donation from the Michigan Upper Peninsula Snowmobile Association and Marquette Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Iron Ore Heritage Trail Authority has also offered $4,000, while the DNR’s snowmobile program is funding $7,450 for the repair work. Another $5,000 will be donated through in-kind labor.
“We are so appreciative of the monetary support we’ve received, allowing the bridge repair to get underway,” said Hiawatha Trails Snowmobile Club president Don Britton. “Our goal is to get the bridge re-opened by Christmas weekend so snowmobilers can enjoy the trail in time for the holidays and the rest of the winter season.”
Anyone with information or tips related to the bridge arson is encouraged to contact DNR law enforcement at 906-228-6561 or 800-292-7800.
For more information about the temporary trail closure and bridge repair, contact Ron Yesney at 906-228-6561. To learn more about the state’s snowmobile trails program, go online to www.michigan.gov/snowmobiling.