Cyclists can now travel easily between Land o Lakes, Wisconsin and Watersmeet, Michigan.
The Agonikak Trail cuts through the Ottawa National Forest.
The 12-mile stretch was originally built for snowmobiles but had been neglected over time. It’s now been upgraded to a compacted gravel surface
Alan Piel, Michigan Director of Wilderness Lakes Trails, says the trail’s location made it an appealing choice for restoration.
“It didn’t require any private easements, it was all on national forest land – which is often a big obstacle when you’re trying to do a trail system. And the forest service was very open to the project, so it just seemed like why not start there.”
It’s part of a larger effort to add biking opportunities in the area. The group is planning a 38-mile system that goes around the Sylvania Wilderness Area.
Piel says the Agonikak trail only crosses three secondary roads between Watersmeet and Land o Lakes.
“I think one thing that’s really unusual about it is that we’re separated from a very busy highway. And it’s really far enough out in the woods that you really experience almost a wilderness bike ride for twelve miles.”
The $1.4 million dollar project netted over a million dollars in grants from Michigan’s Natural Resources Trust Fund, plus various smaller grants and donations from the Ottawa National Forest, Lac Vieux Desert tribe and other groups.