I just heard back from our Traverse City Field Office (understaffed & busy now with firearm season). Our State Forest Pathways will not be cleared of downed trees, the parking lots will not be plowed, and the trails will not be groomed this winter, due to statewide budget cuts.
Hopefully, more trail lovers will get out & clear our trails (chainsaws needed) before XC ski season (after 12/1), like someone did at Lake Ann Pathway last week. If you would like a map of the downed trees at Muncie Lakes Pathway (2 downhill ski hazards), Sand Lakes Quiet Area, or Lost Lake/Lake Dubonnet, go to the Grand Traverse Hiking Club's yahoo site under FILES at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GrandTraverseHikingClub/.
I suggested to Mark that a sign stating "The State Forest Pathways are no longer maintained by the DNR, so SKI AT YOUR OWN RISK" should be posted at all. I also mentioned to him that it definitely will not be safe to park on the shoulder at Lake Ann Pathway & hope that a Good Samaritan decides to plow the lot there again. If so, they are advised to fill out a Volunteer form with the DNR office.