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Conservancy eyes Cheboygan property for hiking, biking trails

This 150-acre parcel of land will soon be home to a sprawl of hiking and biking trails in Cheboygan County.
Little Traverse Conservancy
This 150-acre parcel of land will soon be home to a sprawl of hiking and biking trails in Cheboygan County.

Outdoors lovers will soon have access to stunning views of Burt and Mullet Lakes.

The Little Traverse Conservancy is developing a hilly land parcel in Cheboygan County into a new trail system for hikers and bikers.

On a clear winter day, Mark Melvin says you can see the clear blue of Cheboygan County’s largest lakes from the highest point of the property.

Melvin and his family helped purchase the 150-acres for the Little Traverse Conservancy - located in Indian River. He said when his realtor first discovered the property, he was stunned by its beauty.

He said the new trails are another way for residents to appreciate the outdoors – like he did when he spent his summers Up North as a child.

“My wife says I never stopped,” he said. “I'm usually out doing something, you know, whether it be skiing, sailing, waterskiing, boating, fishing, shooting, you know, whatever it is, I'm doing something.”

Melvin and his family, who live in Florida most of the year, are longtime supporters of the Little Traverse Conservancy and have helped finance other projects in the past.

Executive Director Kieran Fleming said the hilly terrain of the Cheboygan property offers great views of the water and a wild ride for Mountain Bikers

Preliminary plans for the project include two separate trails – one for hiking and one for mountain biking.

“The people that really enjoy (mountain biking) love the topography, the hills just go up and down,” Fleming said. “And then when you create trails on those...boy, it's as much of an art as a science.”

The Little Traverse Conservancy is crowdfunding the remaining costs for trail construction. So far, it's raised over half of the $300,000 goal.

With continued support, Fleming said construction can begin this summer and, hopefully, be open for limited access.

Michael Livingston covers the area around the Straits of Mackinac - including Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties as a Report for America corps member.