bike trail

The state is expected to wrap up budget deliberations this week. The Joint Finance Committee saved the toughest work for last, what to do with a transportation budget this is deep in the fiscal hole.

One provision has people who enjoy bicycling upset. The proposal charges buyers of new bicycles a one-time $25 dollar tax.

This 'bike tax" is outlined by  Executive Director of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin Dave Cieslewicz....

The bidding process is open for contractors who want to build the first section of the Conover-Phelps bike trail.

Great Headwaters Trails President Jeff Currie says the more than three miles of trail should be built by this fall.

“They would have to do whatever clearing has to happen to get the trail ready; they would have to prepare the sub-base, although most of the trail is on railroad grade, so a lot of that sub-base is probably going to be okay.” 

The town of Conover has about three weeks to decide whether to accept federal funding to build a bike trail.

After Vilas County officials asked the town to allow ATVs on a short stretch of the silent sports and snowmobile trail, state officials have clarified that it’s too late for changes to the project proposal. 

But DOT North Central Engineering Chief Brian Gaber says ATV groups could apply to build their own trail on the railroad grade, which is about a hundred feet wide.

He says ATV use would need to be separated from the silent sports portion. 

Brian Robert Marshall

The Conover town board is looking at options for allowing both ATVs and a bike trail downtown.  At Wednesday night’s special meeting, town board members decided to sit down with the state Department of Transportation. 

Federal funding lined up for the current trail plan would allow only non-motorized use in the summer, and snowmobiles in the winter.

Vilas County officials want the town to allow multiple uses, including ATV access, on part of the railroad grade near downtown Conover. 

Town Supervisor Karl Jennrich says local business owners support a compromise.

Belal Khan

The town of Conover may reconsider its plans to build the first leg of a bike trail connecting Conover with Phelps. The move comes alongside Vilas County’s push to explore more ATV route options. 

Conover town board members are scheduled to discuss Wednesday whether to back out of an 850-thousand dollar bike path and snowmobile route. 

Funding has already been lined up from the Department of Transportation and local snowmobile clubs. 

Submitted photo

Cyclists can now travel easily between Land o Lakes, Wisconsin and Watersmeet, Michigan. 

The Agonikak Trail cuts through the Ottawa National Forest. 

The 12-mile stretch was originally built for snowmobiles but had been neglected over time. It’s now been upgraded to a compacted gravel surface

Alan Piel, Michigan Director of Wilderness Lakes Trails, says the trail’s location made it an appealing choice for restoration. 

Pete Rondello

Boulder Junction is hoping to rally enthusiasm for its growing bike trail system this summer.

Chamber of Commerce Director Theresa Smith says the original Boulder Junction trail was built in 1994 and has been expanding ever since.  Right now there are 29 miles of paved trail connecting Boulder Junction with Sayner and St. Germaine.  And she says there’s more to come.

Used courtesy of the Eagle River Historical Society.

A bike trail project has netted a $15,000 matching grant to complete a short stretch of trail. 

The Three Eagle Trail runs from Three Lakes to Eagle River.  It’s being extended by less than a quarter mile through a congested part of Eagle River to the old train depot.  The grant comes from Tara Lila, a company that specializes in land conservation and trail construction.  It will match community donations up to $15,000 in hopes of covering the $30,000 cost of the construction. 

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

With winter still holding the Northwoods in its icy grip, most of us try to avoid going out in the cold for longer than we have to.  So you might be surprised to find that one commuter relies on his bicycle to get to work all winter long, even refusing offers of car rides and choosing instead to brave the icy streets of Stevens Point.

It’s 7 a.m. on a clear morning in March, and 20 degrees below zero outside.  Rich Sweet is in his kitchen, in the process of what he calls “gearing up.”

A biking and walking trail planned between Phelps and Conover is getting a financial boost.  Great Headwaters Trails has gotten 90-thousand dollars to begin work on a 5 mile section between Phelps and Conover.  Half of that is coming from the DNR.  It’s being matched by money from state snowmobiling funds and Great Headwaters Trails. 

But Great Headwaters Trails President Jeff Curry says trail construction is still not fully funded.

Pete Rondello

Cyclists can now enjoy over 30 miles of paved bike trails in Vilas County.  

The town of Boulder Junction has finished an expansion of the bike trail system that connects Boulder Junction, Sayner and St. Germaine.  Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Theresa Smith is hoping the expanded trail will be a boost for tourism.