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Recreation opportunities set to be improved with sizable investment

May 16, 2022 | By Michael H. Babcock

Portage Health Foundation (PHF) is excited to announce six projects sharing $105,714 in investments covering a wide range of improvements to recreational opportunities in Michigan’s Copper Country. This year’s investment includes two projects in Keweenaw County and Ontonagon County as well as one project in Houghton County and Baraga County.

Adventure Mountain Sign“We had more ready-to-go projects presented to us than we could have anticipated,” PHF Grants Coordinator Mary Jo Munch said. “It was a great experience reading through them and we’re excited about the funding we’re providing to the six projects that were chosen.”

Fifteen qualified applications were submitted totaling $284,729 in response to PHF’s request for proposals for $100,000 in funding for Community Recreational Facilities and Resources. Below is a brief introduction to the six projects that received funding.

Camp Josh Site Upgrades - $20,000

The resurgence of Camp Josh in Ontonagon County has been impressive and this summer they’ll improve their facilities thanks to $20,000 in funding. The camp focuses on creating outdoor recreation opportunities for individuals with disabilities and veterans. The funding will be used for improvements to the parking lot and pathways around the fishing pond.

Copper Harbor Trails Club Trail Upgrades - $15,000

This summer biking in Copper Harbor will return to its previous glory with the reopening of a few favorite trails, and thanks to funding from PHF the bikers will be safer. Copper Harbor Trails Club (CHTC) is using this grant to create a new emergency access corridor at the bottom of Flying Squirrel and Danimal trails. This will help first responders have better access to injured trail users. In addition, CHTC will be using funds to rebuild large sections of Flying Squirrel.

Horizons Alternative School Ice Rink - $19,969

Hockey and ice skating have been embedded in the culture of Michigan’s Copper Country for more than a century, and this winter residents of Keweenaw County will have access to another outdoor rink as students from Horizons Alternative School in Mohawk will be constructing a rink and maintaining it all winter. The project will help students experience learning in a project-based model while at the same time giving back to their community. The rink will be open to the community.

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club Trail Updates - $16,745

Encouraging people to get outdoors and enjoy their incredible trail system on foot, bike or skis is a huge focus of Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club and this grant should allow them to do just that as they are using funds to create and install directional signage and maps at all intersections at Maasto Hiihto and Churning Rapids Trails as well as restoring and remediating sections that have been damaged, smoothing rough areas for improved grooming, and solving some drainage problems.

Mountain Lions Groomer – $14,000

Greenland Township’s Adventure Mountain has seen a true renaissance during the last two years with the reopening of their rope tow in January 2021. The group was seeing more than 300 individuals per month in 2022, and a new groomer will be a huge aid as they look to keep the momentum going in their community. The new groomer will provide a safer experience for those who use the hill – especially for the youngest children.

Second Sands Beach Access Path - $20,000

One of the most well-regarded beaches in Baraga County will see an upgrade this summer as L’Anse Township creates a beach access path at Second Sands Beach with this grant funding. The project will provide accessible public beach access to community members with limited mobility or disabilities, allowing them the opportunity to easily engage in lakefront recreational opportunities with their friends and family.

This grant opportunity was released in January of 2022. To make sure you are among the first to find out about future funding opportunities, subscribe to the Portage Health Foundation monthly email newsletter at

Michael H. Babcock

Michael H. Babcock