2017-03-02 / Front Page

Efforts Progressing For US-2 Byway

By Kevin R. Hess

Efforts to designate a portion of US-2, stretching from St. Ignace to Naubinway, as a Pure Michigan Scenic Byway are progressing and a decision could be made soon on what that will look like. A meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, March 2, at the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum in Naubinway. The meeting will include the Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning and Development Commission, the Top of the Lake Community Association, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and government officials from many of the towns along this stretch of highway. The meeting is open to the public.

Bruce Gustafson of Naubinway sought this designation beginning in January 2016. He has often driven this portion of highway, and believes it to be the most beautiful stretch of road in Michigan.

“We live in such a beautiful place, why not promote it? The (scenic byway) designation would make us a tourist destination for all kinds of people,” said Mr. Gustafson.

Areas that are designated as Pure Michigan Byways are promoted through signage along the road, as well as within MDOT driving guides. The guides have been available online, but this spring MDOT will provide a printed guide. The deadline for application to be a scenic byway is the end of March.

The proposed name of the byway is Top of the Lake Scenic Byway. The original plan was to designate the stretch of highway between St. Ignace and Naubinway, but discussions have also taken place about expanding that to Manistique. A meeting took place three weeks ago between EUP Regional Planning and Development, Top of the Lake Community Association, and MDOT, where MDOT representatives discussed the extension. Representatives from Manistique may be in attendance at the March 2 meeting.

The decision will be up to MDOT, said Mr. Gustafson, who does not oppose expanding the byway to include more of the road.

Naubinway to Manistique has a lot of wooded area, while St. Ignace to Naubinway features the shoreline of Lake Michigan.

Every government has been contacted between St. Ignace and Naubinway, and many have sent representatives to the meetings.

“Everyone seems to be supportive of this effort. The only cost to any of them would be signage, unless they chose to do something more. We’re not asking anyone to build a park or anything. We already have things in place,” said Mr. Gustafson. “This (designation) simply promotes our areas, what we offer, and will bring people to our towns.”

Moran Township discussed the scenic byway at its February meeting. Supervisor Jim Durm said the township hopes to send a representative to the March 2 meeting.

“It’s a marketing tool,” he said. “We’re interested in anything that will promote tourism in our area.”

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