VanderWall applauds $3.5M funding for state snowmobile trails, Manistee River bridge in Mesick

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Curt VanderWall on Thursday applauded the Senate’s passage of an end-of-the-year budget bill that includes $3.5 million for state snowmobile trail development and maintenance, including repairs to the trestle bridge across the Manistee River in Mesick.

“This funding was sorely needed to enhance and maintain our state’s wonderful system of snowmobile trails,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “Snowmobiling is a treasured part of our Pure Michigan winter recreation and heritage. It also provides a seasonal economic boost to our local communities, especially across Northern Michigan, which welcome riders from across the state and beyond that seek the great adventures offered by our amazing trails.”

According to the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, snowmobilers spend more than $1 billion on snowmobiling activity, equipment and vacationing in the state of Michigan each year.

The budget supplemental, known as House Bill 4398, would allocate $2.2 million to the Department of Natural Resources’ restricted Snowmobile Trail Improvement Fund for grants to replace trail grooming equipment and $1.3 million to repair the trestle bridge over the Manistee River in Mesick. The bridge is an old train trestle that will be refurbished, and a new deck installed.

“Getting this bridge repaired and open is huge,” VanderWall said. “Restoring and opening this 200-foot span over the Manistee River will connect multiple recreational trail systems and create new opportunities for people to explore many miles of trails. This opportunity will bring new snowmobilers and outdoor enthusiasts through the area and more visitors to our local businesses. This trestle project has been a needed fix for a very long time, so I am very excited to see this funding come through.”

Michigan is home to a more than 6,500-mile snowmobile trail system that is open from Dec. 1 through March 31 each year and considered to be one of the best in the country. Trail maps, permit purchasing information, and more can be found at Michigan.gov/snowmobiling.

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A view across the old train trestle that crosses the Manistee River in Mesick. The 200-foot span is now set to be refurbished, and a new deck installed, thanks to a $3.5 million budget allocation recently approved by the Legislature for state snowmobile trail development and maintenance. Sen. Curt VanderWall, R-Ludington, said this project will connect multiple recreational trail systems, create new opportunities for people to explore many miles of trails, bring new snowmobilers and outdoor enthusiasts to the area and more visitors to our local businesses.