why swedetown matters
Tucked away in Calumet’s backyard are the Swedetown trails. The 30K of nordic ski trails, 8K of snow shoe trails and 3K of multi-purpose trails are a draw for both local and regional visitors. Making the most of the abundant of snow in the area, the trail system provides enthusiasts of all skill levels a way to challenge their abilities and enjoy the beauty of the woods in winter.
Main Street Calumet recently spoke with Barb Flanagin, Board Member of the Swedetown Trails Club, the organization that develops and maintains the trails. Swedetown Trails Club is a non-profit with many volunteers, and Barb wanted to
highlight the importance of the Swedetown Trails to our community.
Our Groomers are Important: There is more than just riding on a fancy piece of equipment to keeping the trails in the condition skiers like to have them. Running the new Prinoth Husky, quarter of a million dollar machine, safely and well is the job of a skilled operator. Various snow conditions impact how they groom and it takes awhile for a new groomer to learn the “tricks of the trade” and they go through rigorous training. Finally, it takes the right sort of individual, with the right attitude, to get out there every day throughout our long winter months. Despite early season preparation, wind and snow can cause downed trees, and unexpected maintenance issues sometimes arise, which can add to the average five hours of daily grooming time.
Trail Pass Fees Pay for Winter Trail Grooming Operating Costs: It is a fairly common misconception, and an understandable one, that taxes pay for all of the work that goes into providing the high quality Nordic ski experience that users enjoy. This may create the belief that a resident shouldn't have to pay for a pass since it is township land. While initially some tax money went toward paying for the purchase of the land, no tax money goes towards operational costs. These costs, and related ones such as plowing parking areas, and lighting and heating of the chalet, are covered by the budget built with the fees paid for the trail passes.
We Are Supported by Volunteers: A lot of things are done by volunteers: They prepare the trails before snow comes, work on long term improvements such as correcting the flow of tight turns, leveling the terrain, putting in culverts in low, wet spots, brushing and cutting back overhanging limbs, checking the lights to find which are in need of repairs, making sure signs are visible so people don't get lost. Club members also use their skills to make upgrades and repairs to the chalet and other buildings whenever possible. Friendly hosts greet visitors at the chalet. So much of the work can be attributed to volunteers that it is safe to say that Swedetown Trails wouldn’t exist without their efforts.
Swedetown is a great community asset. People come from far and wide to use the trails; our snow is very reliable and the trails are great. Many groups use the trail system for training, even for the Birkie. Being out in the woods and breathing clean pine air is good for one's health and even if you don't ski, the multi-purpose trails are packed so that you can walk in the woods in the winter.