NMU, Noquemanon Trail Network partner for new trailhead on campus
An NMU student has taken a leadership internship idea and brought it into fruition.
In collaboration with the Noquemanon Trail Network, the university now has the NMU Trailhead right on campus. It connects the North and South Trails of the NTN and provides year-round access to the trail network and North Country Trail.
It all started thanks to Ryan Watling, a student at Northern Michigan University. As part of the Student Leader Fellowship Program, Watling had to complete a 100-hour community service internship, and that's when the trailhead came about.
"This entire project was in the name of sustainable transportation and recreation while providing students, staff, faculty, and community members - this is not just for Northern students, it's for everyone in the community - to explore all the trails that we have around Marquette," explains Watling.
NMU broke ground in the spring, and recently put up trail blazers and the new flag signs to mark the trailhead on campus. On Sunday, Aug. 26, the university and NTN held a student ride to explore the opportunities the new trailhead has to offer.
"We wanted students to see where the trails connect and see where they can get bikes from and see where they can get all this information, as well as persuade them that trails really are for them and that they can ride this. This is an opportunity to explore through their opportunities here at Northern, but also it's a life skill they can take on into the rest of the world," Watling continues.
"I always think it takes students to really get out into the community and explore, and now to have a hub right on campus that invites them really out on the trails I think it's going to be really important to getting them outside early in their academic career," says Lori Hauswirth, Executive Director of the Noquemanon Trail Network.
This new trailhead also gives NMU students the ability to use the NMU Adventure Pass, providing free cross country skis, fat bikes, and snowshoes on campus.
"This is free access to the equipment, free access to the trails. It's really encouraging people to be outdoors, and that's what we want to do, is we want to get people outdoors and get active. Once they get outdoors they really start to support what's happening here in the community," Hauswirth continues.
Watling hopes the trailhead will expand into an entire trail network that goes throughout campus.