The history of how the Iosco Exploration Trail (IET) came into existence is a unique blend of innovation, broad thinking, and hope for a better economic future for Iosco County. With a personal understanding of the areas beauty and potential opportunity to share that, Jeffrey Matthews introduced the idea of a non-motorized bike path to a group of individuals who started working toward the goal of seeing that come to fruition. Nancy Huck, Jane Hayward, Fred Lewis, Aaron Weed, and other community members brought the IET through circumstances that would have pushed any hard-working volunteers off a big project, but where there's a will there's a way. The group secured grants, researched the trail development process, brought together townships in the county and a big big plan. Upon a visit to the area in 2016, Governor Snyder with Senator Jim Stamas, along with 25 community members, hiked a portion of the Highbanks Trail in support of the IET. Both Snyder and Stamas agreed the beauty was undeniable. As it came to be, the Iosco Exploration Trail, with their support, became part of the Iron Belle Trail initiative.
Over the next 4 years this team created the 501(c)3 nonprofit, Iosco Exploration Trail, Inc., started with the purpose to provide for future maintenance of the trail. They recruited more volunteers and board members to help support the new organization and carry out the mound of growing work. With the nonprofit now in place, a great team of hard working volunteers and sheer dedication, the Iosco Exploration Trail is has now hit several important milestones, with now two phases complete. One in Hale at Loon Lake Park, the other in Oscoda, Mill Rd. to Oscoda High School. A community's dream is becoming a reality.
Working closely with Consumers Energy, DNR, US Forest Service, the Road Commission, and many community stakeholders the IET is underway for a bright and plentiful future. The Iosco Exploration Trail, as part of the Iron Belle Trail, will bring economic growth to the communities it connects and will be a vehicle for which to enjoy the outdoors and access iconic and beautiful areas along the River Road National Scenic Byway. The future of the IET may include an addition to the River Road, Long Lake, and Rifle River Recreation Area. Take a look at the maps within the website, the beautiful photos, IET information, and dream with us as we continue to pour blood, sweat, and tears into a beautiful and deserving Iosco County.
Read "How a Vision Comes to Life" on the IET blog page to get a more detailed backstory of the original trail system vision for Iosco County.