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Fat Tire Fate On Vasa Will Get Public Hearing

Photo courtesy of Einstein Cycles
Courtesy of Einstein Cycles
Photo courtesy of Einstein Cycles

Fat-tire bikes have become a popular winter sport, but they’re not too popular on the Vasa Pathway. The bicycles are a new trend. They’re designed for use on packed snow. 

Some skiers would like to ban them from the trail near Traverse City. Pete LaPlaca is board president of the North American Vasa Ski Race. He says there are safety concerns.

"Our trails are only 11 to 12 feet wide, which makes it difficult for passing or sharing the trails," he says. "Most of the trail systems are 20 feet or more in width and there’s much more room for passing."

The trail is on state land. And the Department of Natural Resources is asking for public comments.

Recreation specialist Todd Neiss says he’s already getting hundreds of responses.

"Both pro and con for allowing fat bike use on it," he says. "It seems to be just a lot of folks passionate about their recreational, winter recreational sport, and understandable that there’s history there using that primarily as skiing."

This is the first winter fat tire bikes have shared the Vasa trail system.  The DNR says states like Vermont, Montana and Minnesota are also dealing with this question. 

The Department of Natural Resources will host a public meeting later this month to discuss whether fat bikes should be on the trail during the winter months. The meeting will be held Monday, April 28, at 5:30 p.m. at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center.