Marking a New Trail Between Topinabee and Brutus

Photo: Burt Lake Trail Committee Chairman Gary Leads the First Group of Riders up a Hill Near Burt Lake.

If you read last week’s blog you may have noticed some inaccuracies in my depiction of Mark Trail, the environmental radio and comic strip hero of the Fifties. Some had to do with a faulty memory of what Mark and his associates did fifty years ago and the rest was in not going to Google before writing the piece, a big sin these days. First of all there was a young kid named Rusty who helped Mark and his girlfriend Cherry (not Cheri) and the young woman who helped out was not kid but a wildlife photographer who evidently had a shine for Mark. I had also forgotten Cherry’s aging father named “Doc” who helped to solve crimes along with the big hearted sidekick Johnny Mallotte, a logger with a booming laugh and a killer French Canadian accent.

But the best news is that Mark and Cherry finally married after a 47 year courtship and the comic strip is still found in more than 100 newspapers throughout the country. I didn’t know that. Moreover Mark is now the official spokesperson for the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) that has an exhibition center in, among other places, Alpena, Michigan along the Alpena Bi-Path. Mark lives among us.

I thought of him again this weekend when I participated in a Trails Council bike ride from Topinabee on the North Central State Rail Trail to Brutus on the Petoskey to Mackinaw City Trail. There is no existing trail on that route but the Burt Lake Trail Committee has been doing yeoman work in getting the buzz going to build one. A hardy group of fifteen riders followed Committee Chairman Gary Street 17 miles on a tour of the proposed route. Gary stopped us occasionally to point out routing alternatives that his committee was considering as well as interesting natural features along the way. It was a rare opportunity to see a trail in the making and in essence we were helping to mark the trail. Of course it’s a long way from a trail in concept to a trail in reality but Gary and his group have done a wonderful job thus far. Good luck the rest of the way.

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