Swedetown Trails Club and Calumet Township announced an addition to the Swedetown Recreation Area of 18 acres of land adjacent to Spruce Street. This area has been used as the start and finish area for the Great Bear Chase, with the kind permission of the private property owner. Now it is secured permanently for public recreation in all seasons.
Support for the land acquisition came from a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant. The grant required a local fund match of 25% to show community support, and additional funds to compensate for the usable gravel on the parcel. We had many generous donors for Giving Tuesday 2022 that made it possible to complete the acquisition.
Improvements began as soon as the parcel was acquired:
- Great Bear Chase Stadium Improvements: The stadium was reconfigured to move the finish area to be adjacent to the starting area, on the lower level of the parcel. This will result in less wind, reduce the logistical burden for the skiers, and allow for more parking.
- Extended Tamarack Loop: The Tamarack Loop ski trail was nearly doubled in length by extending it into the stadium. The loop now includes the finishing stretch of the Bear Chase course, as well as the warmup loop. The level of difficulty of the new 0.8km segment is consistent with other portions of Tamarack – rolling, somewhat-open terrain.
- Trail improvements – To shape the lower stadium area to fit both the start and finish areas, several hundred cubic yards of sand and gravel were removed. We put that material to good use by moving it to fill and improve several segments on other ski and bike trails. We leveled side slopes and filled lower-lying areas to eliminate springtime ruts.
The new parcel provides ample room for future races and other events. It will be further developed to provide a trailhead and other amenities close to the Village of Calumet.