Portage Canal snowmobile path opens

Connecting trails south and north of the canal
This is a recording of the TV6 News Tonight.
Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 3:39 PM EST
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - The Keweenaw Snowmobile Club (KSC) began coating the Portage Lake Lift Bridge’s lower deck with snow early Monday morning.

Excited snowmobilers lined up – hoping to be one of the first to cross.

“Today it’s a big thing for snowmobilers, they can come from all over now to get to the Keweenaw,” said KSC Trail Operator Justin Rogan. “So, this is a big deal for our club and the area.”

Using groomers, the club packs down a layer of snow for snowmobiles to cross each year.

Opening the bridge to snowmobile traffic allows the north and south trail systems to easily connect.

“Everything north now is open except 122, which we’ll be working on tomorrow to get that trail open,” said KSC Groomer Operator Scott Heikkinen. “So, after tomorrow, our whole trail system will be open from Toivola, all the way to Copper Harbor, to Lac La Belle, Eagle River, Eagle Harbor and to Gay.”

Groomers also warn that trail 133 east of Lake Gratiot is still in very rough shape.

However, snowmobilers like Brent Clark from Caro, Michigan report that most area trails have been rideable, groomed and enjoyable.

“We come up two weeks ago and rode the Seeney area back when we got that first heavy snowstorm,” said Clark. “So, this will be our first actual riding, so we’re feeling good. We’ve been kept up all summer doing farm work, so we’re ready to get out and put some miles on this year.”

The snowmobile club will be grooming around the clock with its five machines this season.

But – the club reminds all riders to use caution on the trails.

“There’s still a lot of rocks, there’s water in areas, dirt until we get a lot more snow,” said Heikkinen. “So, just kind of be careful when you’re out there riding and with these high winds they’re predicting we’re going to have more trees down. So, keep an eye for trees, slow down a little bit and stay safe.”

To keep an eye on trail conditions, download the Groomer Tracker app on your smartphone.

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