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Wisconsin trails: Pathway to the great outdoors

August 11, 2010 | 07:37 AM
Take a hike.

Wisconsin has always been known as a getaway destination due to its abundance of pristine lakes, rivers, parks and nature trails. Trails in Wisconsin offer something for every outdoor enthusiast in all seasons, and my favorite is hiking. Hiking can incorporate all of your family at all fitness levels. It is also good exercise while enjoying the natural beauty Wisconsin has to offer. Whether it be hiking, biking, running or riding, Wisconsin's 42 trails, totaling more than 3,060 miles will lead you to recreation and relaxation in the great outdoors.

In 2007, Wisconsin Act 35 was created, which named the Wisconsin State Trail System the "Aldo Leopold Legacy Trail System" after the renowned scientist, author and former conservation professor at the University of Wisconsin. It gave me great pride to co-author the Act, as it will preserve Leopold's legacy by allowing hikers, bikers and skiers to experience Wisconsin's vast natural resources and understand his message of conservation and land ethic.

There are many trails to explore throughout Wisconsin and some of them are located in our area. The Nordic Trail is located in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine forest and is clearly marked about two miles north of U.S. Highway 12 and County Highway H in Walworth County. The John Muir Trail is also nearby and the Ice Age Trail runs adjacent to both. The Glacial Drumlin State Trail stretches for 52 miles from Cottage Grove to Waukesha, through 10 small towns including: Sullivan, Dousman, Wales and Waukesha. The White River State Trail is also located in the 11th Senate District. It is a 12-mile trail which follows a former rail corridor from Elkhorn to Burlington.

A trail pass is required for all people ages 16 and older who wish to bike, ride horseback, or cross-country ski on certain designated trails. However, a trail pass is not required for hiking. Trail passes are available at businesses near state trails, as well as, local Department of Natural Resources offices.

According to the DNR, funding for the development and maintenance of Wisconsin's trail system comes from a number of sources. Some of those sources include the Stewardship Program, Urban River grants, Urban Green Space grants, State Property Development grants, and the Snowmobile and ATV Fund. Towns, villages, cities, counties or tribal governments are eligible to apply for those grants, as well as qualified nonprofit conservation organizations.

Wisconsin has a great variety of linear trails, many on former rail lines, and scenic loop trails that circle about in parks and forests. I encourage you to join in and recognize the many economic, environmental, health, transportation and community benefits that Wisconsin trails provide. For more information, including maps and directions, visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website at www.dnr.wi.gov/ or call (608) 266-2181. Of course, you may contact my office at anytime at (800) 578-1457.

Kedzie can be reached in Madison at P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI, 53707-7882 or by calling (800) 578-1457. He may be reached in the district at (262) 742-2025 or on-line at www.senatorkedzie.com.

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Taste of Wisconsin
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