Officials hope Iron Belle Trail extension from Bessemer will be complete by fall

This article can be found in the Tourism and Recreation Progress Edition of the Daily Globe

By MEGAN HUGHES RAMSAY — The Ramsay Park is seeing some major renovation in anticipation of it connecting to the Iron Belle Trail this fall. Work on the park renovation has been in the works since 2018 and construction is expected to be completed this spring, according to Bessemer Township Supervisor Jeffery Randall. “This is one of several major renovations that the park has seen,” Randall said.  The park, which was developed in 1931, has seen a variety of work over the years, such as one that took place after a flood in 1992, which took out the nearby dam and swimming hole that had been used by generations. The park has seen a number of improvements in recent years including the addition of bike racks in the parking lot, which are located near the trailhead, a variety of new playground equipment including a zip-line, renovations to the tennis courts, a new basketball-pickleball court, and a replacement of stairs connecting upper parking area with the rest of the park. Park renovations will continue this spring in anticipation of the traffic the park will get from conneting to the Iron Belle Trail. The IBT stretches from Hurley, through Ironwood and to Moore Street in Bessemer, with the current work advancing the paved non-motorized trail on the old Soo Line Railroad grade to Ramsay. Some of the upcoming changes to the park include the addition of specialized swings, including handicap-accessible swings and a two-person swing built for parents and children, and a few other small projects Randall explained. “We will be finishing a handful of little things, such as adding lights around the basketball and tennis courts.” When asked his thoughts on the project as a whole, Randall said, “It will be a nice sense of achievement for the township.” The Iron Belle Trail connects 48 of Michigan’s counties and extends more than 2,000 miles across the two routes of the trail, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The Bessemer to Ramsay portion of the trail, and has been in the works for well over a year. The aim of the trail as it grows statewide is to link Ironwood with Detroit’s Belle Isle Park via two trails, one paved and one not. The Ramsay Park is expected to connect to the Iron Belle Trail officially in the fall. Work on the trailhead continues, as well, said Randall. Regional trail officials hope to extend the trail to Wakefield’s Sunday Lake in the future.

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