City of Wakefield ceases use of Trail 2 reroute

Wakefield City Manager cited traffic and homeowner conflicts for the decision to close the reroute.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 3:55 PM EDT
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WAKEFIELD, Mich. (WLUC) - The City of Wakefield has discontinued the use of the Trail 2 reroute connecting Ramsay and Wakefield.

The reroute utilized parts of Wakefield’s city streets, including Old US-2 and Cemetery Road.

Wakefield City Manager Robert Brown cited traffic and homeowner conflicts for the decision to close the reroute.

“It’s a very narrow area to work within,” Brown said. “As they’re grooming the shoulder of the trail, it pushes snow onto the road which causes problems for our vehicle traffic. And, obviously, these property owners didn’t purchase their residential districts with the foresight that there’s going to be a snowmobile trail.”

The City of Wakefield, Gogebic Range Trail Authority, and the Michigan DNR previously agreed on the reroute in December. This came after Big Snow Resort closed snowmobile access to a portion of Trail 2 which ran through its property, citing safety concerns.

Brown said the city has not figured out an alternate route but is giving the Michigan DNR the summer to find one.

“There’s a lot of moving parts to this,” Brown said. “So far, the city council is taking the: ‘Let’s tell the trail first thing in the spring and give them ample time to find an alternative.’ I think if we come into the August month and there’s just absolutely no alternative, I think the city council will re-entertain looking at a modified way of getting them through.”

DNR Upper Peninsula Trails Coordinator Ron Yesney said the organization is currently considering one option.

“The only other plans being considered is trying to work with some additional private landowners that might consider allowing the club and the department to use parts of their land for that trail system,” Yesney said. “It’s going to be the only other option. Otherwise, we’re going to be back out on the city streets if the city allows that. If that’s not an option then the trail will be closed.”

The Michigan DNR says 30,000 to 40,000 snowmobilers use Trail 2 per year, bringing many consumers to western U.P. businesses.

TV6 spoke to the Gogebic Range Trail Authority over the phone. The organization declined an interview but says it is working alongside the DNR and City of Wakefield to find a solution.