Another Sign of US Manufacturing Revival? Converting Trails back to Rails in Michigan

TrailtoRailThe revival of manufacturing in a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has had an unusual ripple effect.  This from the Detroit Free Press:

Michigan leads the nation in the miles of recreational trails converted from abandoned railroad tracks.

But come August, the 2,653 miles of trails will shrink by almost two miles when a stretch of trail between Ishpeming and Republic is converted back to rail.

It’s the first such conversion — called reactivation — in Michigan. And it is one of only about nine nationwide that have happened since the federal Rails to Trails law was signed in 1976.

And local officials and residents are pretty supportive.  The reason?  The rail line is being reactivated to serve a revived manufacturing district:

“This is how it’s supposed to work,” said Joe Derocha, the supervisor in Humboldt Township where the processing mill is located. “If the industrial district ever returns, it should be given back.”

And in a town of 469 residents, the 250 overall employees the mill will bring in “is really significant for us,” Derocha said. “Our town really went stagnant when the mill closed in 2005.”

The full story is here.

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