Munising Bay Trail Network

Community Partners with Munising Visitors Bureau

MBTN 2017 Update

Have you ever heard the acronym MBTN or saw it somewhere and wondered what it stood for?


Munising Bay Trail Network (MBTN):

MBTN has grown from a small group of local mountain bikers with a desire to build trails they could ride locally, into an organized group that is working hard to make a difference in the community. The focus of this group is to create a non-motorized, multi-use trail system that provides a place to experience outdoor activities in all seasons. MBTN is a 501©3 non-profit organization that operates on money earned through memberships, sponsorships, donations, and fundraising.  MBTN has partnered with important land managers such as The City of Munising and The USFS, whom have provided access to the land in which the trails they once dreamed of now wind through. The Munising Visitors Bureau, an important community partner, has provided monetary support to MBTN since its conception. Their support has enabled MBTN to; pursue grants requiring matched funds, organize events such as the Pictured Rocks Road Race, and hire an experienced trail builder to rough cut the trail utilizing a Kubota U17. Combining the support of these important partnerships with thousands of volunteer hours has empowered MBTN to continue expanding the trail network they envision for the community. 


MBTN’s accomplishments to date illustrate the determination that this group exemplifies. At the top of the list is the completion of nearly eight miles of singletrack trail in the Valley Spur Recreation Area. This singletrack trail begins at the trailhead parking area and winds through the forested hills of Valley Spur, offering a family friendly vibe and enough mildly challenging climbs to give any bike enthusiasts a great workout. The trail work did not stop there. MBTN continued work in Munising at the cities western boundary with the construction of a 1.4 mile singletrack multi-use loop, atop the hill behind the Hillside Party Store. As of fall 2016, the 1.4 mile outer loop encompasses a newly constructed Bike Park featuring a 1500 foot jump trail with 21 rollers, 12 table top jumps, 5 large berm turns, and 1 massive (dirt to wood) bridge roller. The Bike Park also includes a Skills Loop featuring over 300 feet of wooden decked bridges, a teeter totter, log rides, and rock armored boulder features. Each of the obstacles in the skills loop offers a ride around option to accommodate a broad range of skill level.


MBTN has many other undertakings to share beyond the trail building mentioned above. This group of volunteers purchased a New Kubota U17 “mini excavator” with a thumb attachment in July 2016 to assist with their trail building efforts. The purchase of the Kubota was made possible through the USDA Rural Business Development Grant. Generous donations received from local businesses and community members enabled MBTN to meet the match required to secure the grant. MBTN members/volunteers organized a six week youth mountain bike program “MBTN Trail Kids” that was made available at no charge “FREE” to all participants. Helmets were made available to all participants as well a limited number of bikes for those that did not have their own. The purchase of the youth program equipment was made possible through grants received by Alger Regional Community Foundation and Superior Health Foundation in 2016.  Additional youth equipment will be purchased in 2017 with funding received through the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians/CDC Partners to Improve Community Health. This year’s Youth Event will begin the Sunday following Labor Day (2:00 – 3:30pm) and will run for 6 consecutive weeks. MBTN became the new organizer of the Pictured Rocks Road Race in 2016 (41st annual) and successfully brought the participant level back to record numbers. The 2016 event attracted over 500 participants. The goal for 2017 is to increase participant level to 700 registered runners/walkers.


MBTN does not have any plans to slow down with plenty in the pipeline to keep them busy. The work bees (typically Tuesday’s from 4:30-6pm) will begin when the snow is gone, to complete the approximate 13 mile loop at Valley Spur.  Five miles of singletrack trail, meaning hundreds of volunteer hours, will need to be completed to make it happen. Simultaneously, the Bike Park expansion will continue atop the hill with the addition of a rock armored trail and 300 feet of wooden features to be added to the Skills Loop. The first phase of the Trust Fund Trailhead/parking lot/universal access trail located on the cities western boundary began late last fall, with the construction of a parking lot in the grassy area adjacent to M28 near the Hillside Party Store. The completion of the parking lot will commence when the weather allows. The second phase which includes the Trailhead/Universal access trail is scheduled to begin when the contract bidding process ends and the contractor of choice is awarded the project. The estimated date of completion of the entire trust fund project is November 2017.


MBTN is working to gain access to public and private lands to expand the trail system. The short term goal is to connect the current trail systems together by linking the City of Munising Trail/Bike Park to the Valley Spur singletrack trail. MBTN is strategically planning additional routes to try and stay ahead, allowing time for National Environmental Policy Act analysis, and other road blocks that may hinder the process. Proposals have been submitted to the USFS for an additional 10 mile loop within Valley Spur and a 15 mile loop across the road (M94) that would link to the connector trail mentioned above. Expansion to the trail in the hills that surround the city of Munising is on the list as a future route to be pursued.


MBTN hosts several fundraising events (Pictured Rocks Days -Pizza Sale, Pictured Rocks Road Race, 4th of July raffle, Grand Island Marathon volunteers) throughout the summer to raise the funds required to continue expanding upon the trail network. Additional help from the community is welcome and encouraged. MBTN is working hard to make a difference one trail at a time.  If you are interested in learning more about MBTN or becoming a volunteer, please visit and/or like their Facebook page.

Bike Park and Valley Spur Update

The Munising Bay Trail Network volunteer group has been very busy this season.
Here is a brief update on what's new for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a fun place to explore :

Munising city trail (located on the top of the hill behind Hillside Party Store):
Bike Park featuring a 1500 ft jump trail with rolling bridge that takes you over the outer loop (1.4 miles in length).
1000 ft skills loop that includes a ride around option for each obstacle which arespaced throughout the trail with varied degree of difficulty. These include wood/rock ride overs, rock trails, several feet ofboard walk (including a double wave deck), log rides, and a teeter totter.

Valley Spur singletrack :
We've almost doubled our mileage since the end of last season. The trail now starts from the parking lot and is7.78 miles (measured with a wheel) to where it stops. The trail currently ends on ski trail G (to those familiar with Valley Spur this is at the top of Heart attack). You can ride the trail in both directions for a 15 mile ride or turn left onto heart attack (steep downhill) and take the fork at the bottom of the hill to the left and follow the back to lodge signs located at the ski trail intersections along the double track to make it a 9 mile loop.

If you get a chance to check the trailsout before the snow flies, we'd love to get somefeedback. You can message our Facebook page or send your comments to

Happy trails!
MBTN volunteers!

MBTN Projects Update

MBTN News Update presented to Munising Visitors Bureau

  • Valley Spur Recreation Area – 12-13 mile loop is at the half way point of completion

    •  7miles built to date (6.5 complete, ready to ride)

      • Another ½ mile ready to be finished by volunteers

      • MBTN’s funds to build more trail are limited

    • USFS - 25 mile plan submitted for additional singletrack

      • NEPA evaluation is needed

      • Snow Bike route is being pursued for winter 2016/17 season

        • Grant(s) will need to be applied for to cover the cost of EA


  • Munising City Trails

    • 1.4 mile loop - singletrack rebuilt and rideable/volunteers are dealing with a sand issue –a lot was done earlier this season/another work bee tonight is planned to spread the rest of the clay/soil

  • bike park is near completion with the majority of the  funding provided by the Sault Tribe through the CDC –PICH (Partnerships to Improve Community Health) funds $36,000 was received. An additional $6,000 plus came from MBTN’s budget to cover housing for the crew and additional expenses (capping materials).  

  • Recreation Passport Grant 2017 (submitted)

  • Trust Fund grant 2017 (submitted)

    • Both grants were submitted to complete the bike park features by adding a flow trail and a pump track – only one will be awarded (if the project is chosen to be a recipient) (DNR would choose the best fit)

    • The matching funds will be covered by the City of Munising

      • $10k from MBTN from the money received from the cities budget for the damage (cities 2016 budget

      • $5k from the cities 2017 budget


  • DNR Trust fund Grant for Trailhead/parking/restrooms with a trail to the top of the hill1.6 mile loop has been shortened to slightly over 1 mile to deal with grade elevation issues for the universal access trail

    • Recipient of 2014 Trust fund Grant through the City of Munising

      • Received an email from Devin Olson on 10/7/2016 that preparations are being made to begin the trailhead parking area soon.


  • Rural Business Development Grant - submitted on February 28, 2016 – Project/purchase a trail building machine for MBTN

    • MBTN‘s grant application was awarded and we now have a brand new Kubota U17 in our possession–to be used for trail building in Alger County

      • MBTN’s match amount was $8000

      • Volunteers are training up on the equipment


  • MBTN Trail Kids Youth Program – A six week youth program was organized by MBTN volunteers beginning September 11th, with the last session taking place Sunday October 16.

    • Funding was obtained by Alger Regional Community Foundation & Superior Health Foundation – 38 youth are registered to date

      • 40 helmets purchased

      • 6 Trek mountain bikes purchased

Future Projects:

        • Connector Trail to link Hillside Trail to Valley Spur

          • New land owners have purchased the land adjacent to the City property

            • Hancock Rural Development Group (HRDG)  - initial contact was made to obtain a use permit for the bike park on top of Hillside – a permit was issued to the trail builder Landowski Trailworx,  Inc.

              • MBTN will contact HRDG to set up a meeting to discuss our options (Permanent easements, land purchase, etc.)

              • Land Acquisition Grants will need to be applied for once we know what we need – match amount will be determined at that time

            • NCTA – supports our efforts and would like to adopt the connector trail (once built) as part of the NCT to provide the through hikers (currently walking M94) an option to stay in the woods (and off from the highway) as they enter Munising.


  • IMBA Chapter Status is being pursued

    • MBTN is currently working on becoming an IMBA Chapter (currently club status) to gain recognition as a mountain bike community as well as open up additional avenues for events and fundraising opportunities.


MBTN Fundraising efforts continue

  • Pictured Rocks Road Race – June 26, 2016 (1st year with MBTN as race director)

    • Over 400 participants / $12,000 was raised for the trail network/2016

  • Cooking Carberry Pizza Sales/ $1,000

  • Grand Island Marathon Volunteers/ $700

  • T-shirt, sweatshirt, and pint glass sales / $300

  • Raffle – 4th of July drawing / $1,700

MBTN Kids Mountain Bike Program

August 2016


Dear MBTN “Trail Kids” mountain bike Participant & Family:


Welcome to the 2016 Munising Bay Trail Network, Inc. “Trail Kids” youth mountain bike program.  We are looking forward to working with your child over the six (6) week course.    We anticipate your child will find the rides to be fun as well as educational.  This letter outlines the program we have put in place for this year and should also answer some basic questions you may have.


Schedule and Locations






September 11th

Valley Spur

2:00 – 3:30 pm


September 18th

Valley Spur

2:00 – 3:30 pm


September 25th

Valley Spur

2:00 – 3:30 pm


October 2nd

Valley Spur

2:00 – 3:30 pm


October 9th

Valley Spur

2:00 – 3:30 pm


October 16th

Valley Spur

2:00 – 3:30 pm

Youth Race



Each weeks session willbegin at 1:45 with the distribution of helmets for any child that does not currently own one.   We also have a limited supply of bikes for use by any child who does not own their own.  Parents not taking part in bike rides are expected to be at the lodge by 3:15 to assist their child with return of helmets and / or bikes.


Cost of Program:

The program is free of charge for children age five (5) thru eighteen (18).  The program includes coaching on bike technique / trail etiquette / care of your bike / bike safety.


Group Assignments and Coaches

Your child will be placed in a specific riding group depending on their level of experience.   It is our intent to have two coaches assigned each session to work/ride along with each group.  Group assignments will be available to you following the first session so that you are aware of the names of your child’s coach. Please contact your group coaches with specific questions about the sessions.


Parent Participation:

Your participation is encouraged.  You are invited to come ride along on any or all rides.


Weather and Cancellations

We will cancel any session due to predication of heavy rain or thunderstorms. There will not be make up sessions.  We will post on the MBTN Facebook Page with cancellations.  You can also call the lodge the day of class for an update on weather conditions and class status.  Lodge phone number is 387-4918.


Equipment and Clothing

MBTN Equipment is handed out on a first come first served basis.  It is your responsibility to arrive in adequate time to check out equipment and be prepared to start class on time.  Rides/training sessions will begin promptly at 2:00 pm.  We ask that you arrive between 1:30 – 1:45 for this purpose.  Parents are responsible to return helmets/bikes or any other borrowed equipment at the end of each session.


  Dress appropriate for the weather and provide your child with a water bottle.


Year End Event:

The coaches have planned a youth bike race for the final day of class, Sunday October 16th followed by pizza and awards.  The event will encompass trails at Valley Spur.  Additional information will be provided as the date gets closer.



Parent Tips when Riding with Kids

Valley Spur bike trails are a great place to start kids biking and to learn some technique fundamentals.  Getting out on the trails with your kids outside of these sessions is even better.  Here are a few tips for getting out and enjoying mountain biking with your kids:


  • Keep distances and degree of difficulty manageable for everyone when deciding on which trails to ride.

  • Build confidence – don’t turn it into an ordeal, especially the first time out.

  • Bring drinks/snacks (chocolate or oranges will usually get a few extra k’s out of anyone)

  • Keep focus on fun

  • Keep up the variety and try out new trails in the area

  • Check out some bike racing events (locally or televised) – catch the excitement.  



    Please find the Bike Program registration form and waiver attached.  The registration form and waiver must be completed, signed and returned prior to your child’s participation.