Snowmobile trail improvements to wait until spring

BARTON CITY – A $50,800 project to improve portions of a snowmobile trail through a swamp has been delayed until spring, an official said Thursday.

At issue is a flow of water from Jewel Lake that has been causing problems on a portion of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trail 966 around the lake in Barton City, Gary Somers, treasurer of the Alcona County Parks and Recreation Commission, said.

“It’s a mile-long stretch through the swamp and there are several wet areas that will be addressed,” he said.

U.S. Forest Service engineers plan to build up sections of the trail as much as three feet in some places, he said.

In the past, beavers were thought to be causing problems 10 years ago, he said. But now, the stream naturally closes when sticks, leaves and other forest debris is blown across the lake, creating a jam.

Sharboneau & Sons Excavating of Lincoln was awarded the bid in November, and had planned to start work, but winter snows came earlier than expected, Somers said. So work will begin next spring when its dry enough.

The project calls for building up parts of the trail with sand, covering it with road fabric for stabilization, adding more sand and topping everything with 22A crushed limestone, he said. Meanwhile, snowmobilers will be able to get through the area, which is groomed as needed.

The project is being funded by the DNR through their snowmobiling division, and is paid for by permit fees, he said.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.