Promoting quiet recreation in Wisconsin.
Opposing the coming attempts to sell off Wisconsin's natural heritage.
Fighting denial about climate change. When are we hitting the streets?

Monday, July 25, 2005

From Mike McFadzen-Protect Wisconsin State Parks

Hi, all.

As most of you already know, Wisconsin State Parks and Trails are in the process of developing a new 5-10 yr strategic plan to manage this resource. Several Public Meetings were held throughout the state with the last one being in Oshkosh July 13.

The motorized recreation crowd has been heavily involved with very little representation of the silent sports. In fact at last night's Ohkosh meeting, aprox half of the attendees were fans of motorized recreation.

I've attached a link to the State Parks Plan Comment Form. WE NEED MORE INVOLVEMENT OF SILENT SPORTERS UNLESS YOU WANT YOUR PARKS TO BE MOTOR PARKS. Please take a few minutes to complete this form. This form has equal weight to attending one of the public meetings.

Our State Parks and Trails are really falling on hard times. In 2004 we ranked 50th of all states in Percent of the State Budget spent on Parks and Trails. Yes, that does mean Mississippi has better funding than Wisconsin! I hope it doesn't happen, but State Parks may have to consider the new revenue stream that motorized recreation offers.

Mike McFadzen

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

From Sue Drum-Presque Isle Bicycle Event on August 7th

Hi Mark,

I enjoyed reading about your biking adventures in our area. Did you know that Presque Isle Pedalers will hold a centennial bike ride August 7th, Sunday. The ride starts in Wilderness Park. just 1 mile south of county W on Bay View Rd. at 9:30 a.m. The ride is about 15 miles long and will follow pretty back roads on old cty. W and Harris Lake Rd. and parts of cty. W back into downtown Presque Isle where the Fireman's picnic is in progress and delicious food and drinks available.

The purpose of the ride is to raise money for the P.I. bike trail, in its early planning stage, which will link to Winchester bike trail, which will link to Manitowish Waters bike trail which will extend through Powell Marsh to Lac Du Flambeau, all being planned. A 20$ trail pass will buy a blaze orange P.I. Pedaler T-shirt, 20 chances on a $500 bike donated by Coontail Sports, and a chance to win at least 15 different gift certificates donated by local restaurants, hardware stores, gift shops, etc. The gift certificate winners will be drawn from the trail passes.

Sue Drum
P.S. I read Dennis Leith's letter to you and don't know what to think. He sounds like his quote was taken out of context and he is still sympathetic to our side. Anyway if the state must find a place for ATVs to ride maybe we can help them think of a better place than our NH-AL State Forest - like the Crandon off road race track or the Eagle River racetrack - both more suited to a high-speed racing vehicle. Sue Drum

Monday, July 18, 2005

Bike Connections Part One: Boulder to Woodruff

While I am waiting for the new bike path to Sayner to be completed, (They are paving "old N" as I write) I have invented a new silent sport-it is called "connecting the towns".The game is to go from town to town via bicycle using the following routes, in order of preference:
Established bike paths
Paved town roads
Unpaved town roads
Snowmobile trails
Quiet county highways.

The idea as much as possible will be to replicate, anticipate, and envision, bike paths connecting every community in Vilas county, creating a new kind of recreational possibility: paved loop tours of various communities and attractions via bicycle that are on either bike paths or quiet town roads. The first example, in honor of the bike trail from Boulder Junction to Crystal Lake, was a trip from Boulder Junction to Woodruff/Arbor Vitae.
The Path: Boulder to Crystal Lake along the Bike Path, Old Highway N (being paved)to Plum Vitae (one mile unpaved), Turn Right on Plum-Vitae to Witches Lake Road (paved), Right on Witches Lake Road to Buckhorn (paved), Buckhorn becomes Old 51, continue straight past highway 70, follow to Woodruff.

Comments: The trip was undertaken on a 90+ degree day, but being able to stop at Trout, Crystal, and Big Arbor Vitae beaches for a swim helped. I wasn't sure what the one mile stretch on Plum-Vitae would be like, so I took a mountain bike, hoping that after I took the road, I could recommend a hybrid for the trip. Unfortunately, as a fairly inexperienced off road rider, I found the one mile Plum-Vitae rough, hilly, and bumpy at times, and required good bike control in the sand. (Experienced bikers might not find this stretch difficult )You could use a hybrid, but expect you might have to walk some of this mile.

The Boulder to Plum-Vitae section along the bike trail is a real beauty, with lots of scenic views of North and South Trout Lake. Ben Bendrick drive is especially beautiful. The Witches Lake-Buckhorn section runs along a very quiet two lane road, a few gentle hills and turns to make it interesting. You will have a great view on the left hand side of Big Arbor Vitae Lake. I stopped my trip at the Hiawatha trailer park in Arbor-Vitae, making the trip two and a half hours with a couple of swim stops in the way. An additional 10 minutes would take you to Woodruff.

Think about this: Arbor Vitae is one paved mile from an excellent bicycle connection to the Boulder-Sayner trail. Going east, highway 70 is 8 miles from St. Germain, which is preparing to connect to the Sayner trail on highway C.
8 miles of paved bike trail, along with a northern connection to the Boulder-Sayner trail, would result in an excellent loop and a proposed connection to Eagle River.
I am just getting started!
Just South , in Woodruff, Highway 47 contains a potential rails to trails bike path between Lac Du Flambeau in one direction and Rhinelander in the other. And a bike Path from Woodruff to Minocqua creates a connection to the Hiawatha-Bearskin Trail, which reaches all the way to Tomahawk! Arbor Vitae and Woodruff have a great opportunity for marketing itself as a bicycle hub with spokes in every direction.

My next ride: Boulder Junction to Land O'Lakes.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Two types of uses of the Northwoods....

For the purpose of a philosophical examination, I present two different types of campers I encountered a couple of years ago in a State campground near the Flambeau river. My description of the two groups is NOT an exaggeration. (Or not much of one)

Camper group A brought an unmuffled dirt bike, fireworks, an amplified stereo system playing AC/DC, a generator, lots of alcohol, and a chain saw(!) to the campsite. Activities included whooping spontaneously, laughing, cutting up wood dragged from the forest, tuning (apparently unsuccessfully) and racing a dirt bike up and down the road, making and using electricity with a generator, shooting off fireworks.

Camper group B had several tents, a campfire, lots of alcohol, canoes for the next day's trip, food to grill over the fire. Activities consisted of sitting around the fire tellling stories, listening (when possible) to the sounds of the woods, laughing at times, perhaps a little too loudly, becoming intoxicated, making plans for the next day's trip.

Both groups are "using" the Northwoods. And both group's "use" is based on a view of what the northwoods is for. So here is my philosophical question: Why is one set of uses "OK" for the Northwoods, and another is not?

I am not talking here about campground rules. (though perhaps I want to look at the philosophy behind those rules). Instead, I want to see if we can say, on a philosophical level, whether it is "better" to see (and use) Northern Wisconsin in one kind of way than another.

More to follow...

Bike Path to Sayner Open Soon!

Important news:

Marcia Kittleson, President of the Plum Lake Chamber of Commerce, told me the bike path from Sayner to Crystal Lake will be open in a few weeks. The link from Boulder Junction to Crystal Lake has been open for a while, and by the number of bikers on the trail, can only be seen as a great success. The addition of the connection to Sayner means that people can plan a vacation activity by going between towns. When will other communities in Vilas County come on line with their own connecting bike trails? I will do some research and give a report soon.

Friday, July 08, 2005

It's the Anti-ATV turn on WPR-from Joel Patenaude

Dear nonmotorized trail supporters,
Apparently Wisconsin Public Radio got some grief from listeners who
thought Wisconsin ATV Association President Randy Harden's defense of
recreational ATV riding went largely unchallenged during an hour-long
interview on June 29. (He referred to the sport as merely "motorized
The result is the scheduling of nonmotorized trail defender Brook
of Luck as a guest in the same 6-7 a.m. slot this coming Monday on the
Ideas Network stations of WPR.
I encourage you to set your alarm clock to tune in and/or call in with
your own concerns about the encroachment of ATVs on wild areas and
public lands. You can also ask Brook directly -- in advance of the
program -- to bring up related issues about ATVs. Email him at
Brook is an articulate and tenacious anti-ATV activist. As president of
the Lincoln-Osceola-Garfield Greenway (LOG), he has fought to keep ATVs
off a 13.5-mile rail-trail between Amery and Dresser. His organization,
a lake association and local farmer sued the DNR and recently won a
settlement in which the state agency admitted it had OK'd ATVs on the
trail without first doing an environmental assessment of the
consequences. The trail is closed until that study is done.
Brook has debated Harden and taken on Polaris, which has an ATV
production facility in his area. His struggle with the DNR has
implications for state trails throughout Wisconsin. It promises to be
informative and fiesty hour.
I hope you'll tune in.
Joel Patenaude, Editor
Silent Sports