Mountain Bike Group Wants To Expand Minocqua Trails

Apr 12, 2017

Credit pixabay.com

A request by a mountain bike club to expand its footprint on town property will need to be coordinated with a private zip line business, which leases space on the same acreage, so there’s no adverse impact on either enterprise. That was the decision by the Minocqua Town Board after Lakeland Area Mountain Biking Organization (LAMBO) representatives approached the board Wednesday, April 5 to discuss adding three miles of trails to its current trail system.

Both LAMBO and the Northwoods Zip Line are using town property off U.S. Highway 51 south of the Island of Minocqua. Currently, Northwoods Zip Line pays a leasing fee to the town; the non-profit organization LAMBO does not. Northwoods Zip Line has nine zip lines in play, along with an “aerial canopy.”

LAMBO has three miles of mountain bike trails and wants to add an additional three miles in two segments. The organization would pay for the trail construction and is not asking the town for financial support.

Town attorney Greg Harold said that without a land use lease, LAMBO would be a “sub-unit” of town government and would have to abide with the state’s Open Records and Open Meeting laws, as well as public notices for bidding. A lease would separate them from the town on those requirements. LAMBO is also exploring creating additional trail segments on adjacent state land. The trails would “complement the terrain and be environmentally sustainable,” according to a fact sheet presented to the board. The group is also asking permission to build an equipment shed. The two entities will meet with Director of Public Works Mark Pertile to work out an arrangement.

The board also directed Harrold to do further research on a request by Jay and Deanne Kidd to have the town sell them a small piece of town property that connects to their business, The Thirsty Whale. The restaurant for the most part sits on pilings over water. The board seemed split on the request with Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim saying the town should continue leasing the land to the Kidds, as it has since 1984, and Supervisor John Thompson saying the town should sell it to them. The Kidds want the land to ensure they can rebuild the restaurant in case of a fire or damaging winds that might lead to its demise. There’s a question on whether they, as lessee, could get permission from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for a permit to rebuild. That possibility does exist as a windstorm in June of 2016 likely triggered an electrical short that led to a fire in a wall, which was quickly extinguished. The owners had approached the town board back in March 2016, asking for the land sale. From the audience, Tom Handrick criticized the length of time it’s taken to resolve the matter. Harrold responded that it’s been difficult to find answers from the DNR, but will contact the state Legislative Research Bureau for clarification and possibly an opinion. The matter will return to the board.

In other actions, the board recommended approval by the county of a conditional use permit requested by Mark Herrick to operate a mobile food service with outdoor seating on property owned by Timothy Krolczyk. The board in the past has refused to allow “food carts” or trailers on the Island, partly because they would be seasonable only and would compete against restaurants that operate year round and pay real estate taxes. The feeling this time around is that the Herrick business would be “attached” to a brick-and-mortar business, TJ’s Butcher Block, and would have access to its parking, bathroom facilities, garbage, water and sewer. It would be located north of the business at the corner of Highways 51 and J. The board approved two other requests: that of signing a letter of support requested by Winter Park for a grant application, and that of Sandy Metzger to have a local cleanup day of town, school forest and state parks in conjunction with a geocache event on Apri8l 22, Earth Day. She is coordinating volunteers for that day with Lakeland Disposal & Recycling supplying trash hauling at no cost. Winter Park is seeking funds to purchase private lands within their ski trail complex.