TART Trails is working to implement new wayfinding and warming hut improvements at the Vasa Pathway. Located on state forest land, the Vasa Pathway features a series of loops (3K, 5K, 10K, 25K) that offer users a variety of challenges from easy to difficult. These trails are a recreational resource showcasing the woods and water of our region.

Wayfinding improvements will include the installation of 19 corten steel posts with location reference numbers, as well as aluminum maps on each post. Warming hut improvements include the expansion of the patio area to accommodate additional seating, which will better serve the increased number of trail users. As well, the exterior of the warming hut will receive a fresh coat of paint.

Vasa Pathway Trailhead and Bike Park Plan Summary

With increased use and popularity throughout the four seasons, TART Trails is working to make crucial updates and improvements at the Vasa Pathway. The Vasa Pathway active projects include extensive and necessary facility updates, improved signage and kiosks, and the expansion and maintenance of the Vasa Pathway and Vasa Bike Park. These projects are completed through impressive collaboration between TART Trails, the Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association, and the Grand Traverse County.

1.     Vasa Bike Park Kiosk

We plan to design and install an approved Vasa Bike Park kiosk just north of the Warming Hut patio area. The kiosk will inform trail users on rider etiquette, safety guidelines, trail and park information, and maps, and will recognize donors.

2.     Warming Hut Patio Expansion

We anticipate a patio area expansion on the east side of the Vasa Pathway warming hut to better accommodate visitors and outdoor seating at picnic tables. The proposed patio area will include a block retaining wall and fill to meet the grade of the existing patio area. The patio will better accommodate Vasa Bike Park and Vasa Pathway visitors looking to sit outdoors and in close proximity to both trails. One additional picnic table is recommended. 

3.     Continued Buildout of Skillz Upper and Lower Loops

The 2019 construction and opening of the “Skillz” loops have proven to be a great addition to the trails in our community. The Skillz loops are intended to provide a trail that is both fun and provides a variety of terrain/features to develop mountain bike skills.  While the trail beds have been completed and some features have been constructed, there are some remaining features that we hope to put in place, including additional berms, rollers, jumps, and drops. 

4.     Vasa Pathway and Bike Park Gateways

We want to design, construct, and install two gateways to clearly identify access to the Vasa Pathway and the Vasa Bike Park from the trailhead.

5.     Professional Warming Hut Exterior Paint, Gable Vasa Sign

We plan to spruce up the warming hut with professional scrapping and painting of the entire exterior and the placement of a gable Vasa sign, welcoming visitors in before and after their trail adventures. 

6.     Maintenance and Grooming Facility/Building at Supply Road

TART Trails has long outgrown the current grooming barn located at the Vasa Pathway trailhead located off of Bartlett Road in Acme. NMMBA is currently without a facility and has entered into a yearly agreement to store equipment at Timber Ridge Resort. TART and NMMBA want to share a facility at the trailhead located off Supply Road to store equipment, provide a maintenance area, and house an office for grooming and maintenance operations. In addition to the building facility, the proposed Supply Road location offers better access to the south side of the Vasa Pathway which receives and holds more snow compared to the existing Bartlett Road trailhead. This move will extend grooming in the early and late portions of the winter season.

7.     Parking Lot Surface, Drainage, and Landscaping Improvements

We plan to pursue a professional review, design, and repairs/construction of the Vasa Pathway trailhead at Bartlett Road. Native species will be incorporated to accommodate stormwater runoff better and improve trailhead aesthetics.

8.     Pump Track

To continue facilitating skill development in trail users of all ages, we plan to design and construct a pump track within the Vasa Bike Park. This facility will help riders feel comfortable with quick elevation changes and navigating flowing twists and turns.

9.     Skills Trail Phase II on State Land

Lastly, we will pursue the professional construction of 2.7 miles of single-track trail, proposed to be located on State Land immediately south of the existing loops. Phase II will build off the existing Skillz loops and will provide additional trail distance, terrain, and feature diversity, and continue to create a trail system destination.