To the Journal editor:
Congratulations to the voters of Ely Township to have the good sense to defeat the proposed millage for their portion of the Heritage Trail.
For way too many years the state, special interest groups and now local units of government have been forcing trails down our throats. Each existing and proposed trail has two things in common: a good idea and no way to fund it in perpetuity.
Sure, the respective organizers may have secured grants for the construction of trails; but what about trail upkeep? And I won't use this opportunity to lament about the source of those grants such as gas taxes used for bicycle trails.
Trails, paved or not, receiving light seasonal use of all types deteriorate at a much quicker rate than highways or airports with regular use. Trails due to their general remoteness cost a considerable more per square yard and/or lineal foot for maintenance than a more easily accessed
Had this millage passed, the $9,800 raised the first year as reported by The Mining Journal is roughly equal the cost to install 1,960 square yards of crushed gravel surface or 163 feet of a 12 foot wide trail. In the not too distant future Iron Ore Heritage Trail officials will be looking for more. They'd be looking for more than a millage renewal. Most likely doubling up the millage will be recommended and we haven't even begun to discus maintenance costs.
It's pretty clear to me the Ely Township voters are a lot more farsighted than IOHT officials or The Mining Journal. Residents of the other communities along the Trail will be asked for more on their sections as well. Pay attention and weigh the costs against the benefits.
Trail recreation has never been and most likely never will be self supporting. If you don't use the trail why pay for it?
Sorry, personal finances override community pride. Why do you think there are very few successful privately owned Nordic Ski Centers in the entire U.S.?
It just don't pay. Way to go Ely Township!