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Posts Tagged ‘rails to trails’

The old caboose car on the Leelanau Trail is receiving a bit of TLC this summer. A dedicated volunteer crew leader has taken on the project as his own and has been scheduling painting bees throughout the spring/summer. An enormous amount of prep work was needed to blast off the rust and old paint. The primer coat was a dark maroon color.

Caboose (4)

The Leelanau Trail runs along a former rail bed, most recently used by the Leelanau Scenic Railroad. The railroad operated between Greilickville and Northport. Long ago, one of the most important uses of the railroad was providing transportation to and from Traverse City for people who lived in Leelanau County. Now the rails have been removed and it’s a multi-use trail used for biking, walking and skiing in the winter. The trail property- all 185 linear acres- is owned, operated and maintained by TART Trails, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

TART’s caboose identified as #2938 has a bed, a bathroom, table and
chairs, and a stove. Cabooses were used as a place for eating and sleeping, conductors would use the space to do paperwork and it’s where the train brakeman would “throw switches” to slow down or stop the train. They would also radio information about the train to the engineer up front. Cabooses were painted “boxcar red” for high visibility. After World War II, however, the “little red caboose” started showing up in many different colors. The caboose will go from red to yellow this year, with many helping hands and paint brushes to get it there. Go for a bike ride and check it out. The caboose is located on the Leelanau Trail at the Carter Road intersection, on the west side of Traverse City just outside the city limits.

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Leelanau TrailA recent 30-mile bike trip out to Suttons Bay and back on the Leelanau Trail was met with blue skies and scenic vistas. Roughly half the trail is paved, the other half is a hard-packed two-track. The unpaved section goes through beautiful agricultural fields planted in cherry orchards and grape vinyards. The Leelanau Trail is a rail to trail conversion and goes from Traverse City to Suttons Bay.

On the way back to Traverse City, we stopped at the water pump at the DeYoung Natural Area to refill our water bottles. The cold well water sure was a treat!

Overall, it was a wonderful excursion and it’s great to see many happy faces enjoying the beautiful weather. It was especially nice to see many elderly utilizing the trail near Orchard Creek Assisted Living. There were two trail users plodding along with walkers and a family taking a relative for a walk on the trail and pushing her in a wheelchair.

Isn’t life grand?

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