I had a vision for a biking, hiking trail system that would loop through Iosco County and connect to the proposed bike path on the sunrise side of the Lake Huron shoreline. This would take riders through Tawas, up US-23, through AuSable and Oscoda, down the River Road National Scenic Byway, through the Huron National Forest, Plainfield Twp, and back into Tawas. I kept that idea to myself for a long time, not having the ability to do anything with it at the time. I love the outdoors, trails, snowmobiling, and this area. I’ve lived here all my life, my father lived here his whole life and my grandfather. My family just loves it here.
Through an opportunity to serve on the County Parks and Rec board while holding a County Commissioner seat, I advocated for a snowmobile trail system that could be regularly maintained and improved. Being seated as the Chairman of this board gave me the ability to do something different with all the trails in the county and enhance what we had. I knew then that I could bring my visions to life. I pitched one of the ideas, a bike loop, to a friend Nancy Huck. She encouraged me to get this going and together we created a board. We organized and approached the county for seed money. Plainfield Township in Iosco County agreed, then Oscoda and AuSable followed. Rob Eggers from the Spicer Group and I walked the area and laid out a route. We were passionate about the opportunity this trail system could bring. With the natural beauty, untapped resources, and local support we knew it could act to improve the economy. It would provide national forest access, highlight the River Road National Scenic Byway, bring people to see our fall colors, and drive family groups and visitors to our area. Nancy and I went to Lansing, MI, and met with Senator Jim Stamas and Peter Pettalia to lobby for support. That meeting turned my Iosco County loop into a portion of Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail.
Having the Iosco Exploration Trail as part of the Iron Belle Trail is a great opportunity to showcase everything Northeast Michigan has to offer. People travel here from all around the US and outside the country to enjoy our overlooks. Family oriented Sports bring people to access our campgrounds, our communities, and our resources and they enjoy what our area has to offer. Having the Iosco Exploration Trail will supply a nice economic impact and we should take advantage of the natural resources we have here, like the Huron National Forest, which we’re blessed to have. Many people ask how they can access wonderful places like this one, sitting in our own backyard. It’s attractive to visitors and now they’ll have the access they desire. We're also lucky to have such great stewards of our resources, like Consumers Energy and the Forest Service, working with our community members and residents. They care deeply about this area.
If you look at established trails throughout the state and their positive impact statistics, along with their records of safety and low impact use to our resources, they’ve proven to be an asset to the communities who’ve developed them. The trails will lead to building development, a better local economy, and give our families and youth enrichment through outdoor experiences.
Iosco County Resident & Visionary
Foote Hydro tour August 11th was enjoyed by Ronda Garland and Roberta Smith of the Iosco Exploration Trail Committee. Great job Consumers Energy. Foote Hydro was immaculate, the workers were very knowledgeable, and we learned a lot about what it takes run the plant!
At the beautiful new AuSable Twp Hall, The Iosco Exploration Trail Board of Directors met May 17, 2018 to plan and move forward with IET business. Here they discussed the Plainfield Twp ground breaking projected to be late August or early September 2018, a gift basket raffle at the Huron Community Bank in Oscoda this week with proceeds going to the IET nonprofit, trail funding, the new Iosco Exploration Trail website set to launch Late May 2018, and more! This group of trail advocates, stakeholders, and citizens is working hard to see this trail dream come true!