DNR to begin repair work on Houghton to Chassell rail-trail in Houghton County

Contact: Ron Yesney, 906-236-2602 or John Pepin, 906-226-1352
Agency: Natural Resources

May 6, 2021

This image shows significant washout damage along the Houghton to Chassell rail-trail in Houghton County.Crews are set to begin work next week along the Houghton to Chassell rail-trail, repairing significant damage incurred during historic flooding that took place in the area in June 2018.

The popular non-motorized trail has been closed since the flooding and will remain closed until at least August as reconstruction activities continue.

Work will take place at six sites, including repair of a bridge over the Pilgrim River and replacement of five culverts located between the Michigan Technological University golf course and Old U.S. 41 in Chassell.

Heavy equipment will be on the trail, with truck traffic regularly entering and leaving the trail corridor.

"Some clearing of trees and vegetation will be necessary to allow access for equipment and materials," said Ron Yesney, Upper Peninsula trail coordinator with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division. "The DNR is committed to working with adjacent landowners to the greatest extent possible, but some clearing will need to be performed to ensure access to worksites."

The historic flooding in Houghton County occurred on Father's Day 2018, resulting in devastating damage to trails, roads and other infrastructure. Along the Houghton to Chassell rail-trail, 28 locations were damaged, including the Pilgrim River Bridge.

According to a 2019 DNR update on trails damage, 41% of the trail's 48 culverts were at least partially plugged, while another 17% of the culverts destroyed along the route. Repair estimates ranged between $1.5 million and $2 million.

The $492,906 project is being funded through the DNR's Recreation Improvement Fund. Yesney said a couple of additional culverts may be added to the project, which would boost the total cost of the work to an estimated $530,000.

For questions on the trails work, please contact Ron Yesney at 906-236-2602.

For more information on recreational trails in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/DNRTrails. To find out the latest on DNR closures of trails, boating access sites or other facilities, visit Michigan.gov/DNRClosures.

/Note to editors: An accompanying photo is available below for download. A suggested caption follows. Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Trail: Significant washout damage is shown at one location along the Houghton to Chassell rail-trail in Houghton County. Work on repairs is scheduled to begin next week and continue through August./