Two people cross-country skiing in a forest.

Iron County Land Purchase Helps Secure Future of MECCA Trails

Knowles-Nelson grant was key to maintaining a critical link.

Katie Thoreson with WXPR radio station reports that, thanks to the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, a section of ski trail that formerly ran through private land is now owned by the county as a public resource, delighting fans of the extensive MECCA trail system in Mercer, Wisconsin.

Most MECCA trails were already publicly owned, but “for a long a time, a key connection in the trail system went through a 40-acre parcel of privately owned land.” The owner of the property “was always happy to let MECCA have their trail, but when the land went up for sale a couple years ago,” MECCA volunteers were concerned that a new owner wouldn’t feel the same way.

By matching Knowles-Nelson funding with a grant from the Gogebic Range Health Foundation, Iron County was able to purchase the land and secure the trail forever.

“It’s a big relief,” said MECCA Trails President Mike Shouldice. “It’s a big feather in our cap that we were able to do this.”

Featured image by Mark Preuschl, 2007.

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