Petition Closed

Save Blue Mound State Park Singletrack MTB Trails - DUE 12/16/2015 - Brass Nipples Trail Crew (BNTC)

This petition had 827 supporters


In regards to the proposed Master Plan Amendment for Blue Mound State Park (BMSP) we wish to express the following:

1. We support continued use, maintenance and construction of the singletrack trails in Blue Mound State Park for summer Mountain Bike and Winter Fat Bike use as well as hiking, trail running and wildlife viewing.

2. We do NOT support the proposed Master Plan Alternative 4.

3. We do NOT support ANY closure of the Overload Trail for summer or winter use.

4. We do NOT support the current limits on the total number of trail miles at BMSP and we request the DNR increase the number of trail miles allowed; specifically we request the DNR increase the number of trail miles available for singletrack mountain biking and winter biking use to reasonable levels based on further evaluation of available resources and coordination with local trail groups.

5. We request the DNR adopt the comprehensive mountain biking trail system proposal presented by Capitol Off-Road Pathfinders (CORP). 

6. We request the DNR establish funding and budget line items for future construction and maintenance of the singletrack mountain biking trail system including necessary re-routes and reconstruction of unsustainable trail in addition to funding the proposed future trail projects. 

7. We request the DNR purchase a suitable groomer for winter fat bike trails.

Mountain biking, trail running, winter fat biking and hiking in BMSP have been identified as the primary drivers for park visits. Mountain biking provides a great opportunity for recreation. Mountain bikers seek mountain biking as an escape from stressful and busy lives, a chance to connect with nature, to develop a sense of community, to challenge themselves, for fun, camaraderie and connections. We hope the DNR Board takes into consideration the immense support for keeping the current trail system intact and reasonable expansion of the BMSP trail system.

Discussion

BMSP is currently undergoing a Master Plan Amendment Process which dictates how the park may be used in the future. Once this Master Plan is finalized it is not easily amended, in fact, it’s only been amended twice since 1980. In this SECOND comment phase, public comments have been requested in support of Mountain Biking/Hiking/Trail Running/Winter Fat Bike Singletrack Trails at Blue Mound State Park (BMSP). 

Who is Brass Nipples Trail Crew?

Brass Nipples Trail Crew (BNTC) is a group of  bad-ass volunteers dedicated to the construction and maintenance of human powered trails with a primary focus on trails used for mountain biking, hiking, and trail running. After years of experience building and maintaining area mountain biking trails, the BNTC was established to encourage female volunteerism in the construction and maintenance of trails. While the BNTC members participate in activities and volunteer on trails managed by local non-profits and mountain biking clubs we have no official involvement with these organizations and our views, opinions and activities are our own and in no way represent the official stance of the local mountain bike clubs. In 2015, our members have logged over 200 hours of volunteer time and have raised over $800.00 in donations to local trails.

What is a Master Plan?

A master plan for a Department of Natural Resource (DNR) property establishes the level and type of public uses permitted there. The plan details the authorized resource management and the facility development. It also acts as a blueprint for the property, providing for consistent, long term management, regardless of personnel changes.

A master plan for BMSP was completed in 1984. Two variances to the plan have been created: one in 2000 to allow expanded mountain biking and snowshoeing and another in 2012 to create a four season indoor trail head shelter. In December, 2014, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board authorized the department to undertake a master plan amendment process at Blue Mound State Park for the purpose of establishing recreational trail uses and locations.

BMSP Master Plan Information:

Blue Mound Park Draft Master Plan

Aside from the proposal to add snowmobile access through the park, the mountain bike trails are undergoing review.  While the draft amendment contains numerous positives for the overall state of trails in the park, they are overshadowed by the proposal to shut down a large portion of the popular Over Lode Trail.

What is the Over Lode Trail?

Over Lode is a multi-use trail built in 2005-2006 with support from the WI DNR, local volunteers, a $10,000 grant from REI, and hundreds of hours of volunteer labor.  It is situated in an area known as Pleasure Valley Woods, and is used by mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, bird-watchers, and snow shoers. It has become a favorite for many reasons including stunning topography, taking you through steep valleys and quiet, lush forest.  We estimate its worth to be over $100,000 if constructed today.

In 2011, after a change in the park management,  local volunteers were told to cease operations on the trail until its legal state could be determined via master plan review.  This review did not begin until 2015. 

Why is the DNR proposing to close Over Lode?

The DNR cites ecological reasons, including the presence of rare birds and bats, along with arguments that areas of the trail are too steep and unsustainable.

What is the BNTC's view of the closure?

The DNR has provided few details, and has not shown they have done the necessary work to determine if closing the trail system will have any positive effect on bird habitat.  BNTC is very concerned with the ecological impact this trail may have, but feel the data and research cited by the DNR does not apply to the land area or the trail, which is only 12-18 inches wide and does not affect the tree canopy.

BNTC is in agreement with the DNR that areas of the trail need improvements to help with sustainability, but since 2011, local trail groups have been prevented from addressing the needed improvements.  Now, this ‘unsustainable’ argument is being used as a reason to close the trail when simple reroutes could be implemented to fix the erosion and unsustainable sections identified. 

The proposed closure goes completely against the public sentiments to date, even from several well-respected ecologists.  During the first public comment phase the DNR received over 150 comments in support of continued and expanded mountain biking which represented more than 48% of the comments received. Despite this overwhelming support the DNR is proposing to close the most popular section of trail. The park system is under a budget crunch, yet they are proposing to close part of a trail system which has been proven to generate revenue for the park and local business interests.

Why is BNTC proposing to stop the closure of Over Lode Trail?

BNTC and local mountain biking clubs have been hard at work getting support from local advocates, businesses, users and experts.  We continue to work with the DNR to resolve this and other issues with the mountain bike trails in the park, and are hopeful that we can come to a resolution that not only saves the trail, but adds sustainability and increases usability to the general public in a responsible manner. The local IMBA advocacy group CORP will be submitting a alternative proposal to the DNR – we fully support the changes proposed by CORP.

Winter Fat Bike Groomer

BNTC is proposing the DNR budget for and purchase a suitable groomer for winter fat bike use and summer trail maintenance. Winter fat biking on trails has experienced a rapid climb in participation and have allowed for unprecedented trail access. Currently volunteers must prepare the trail for fat bike use by hand, we are requesting the DNR make the capital investment in a suitable groomer as is enjoyed by the cross country ski groups.

How can you help?

Visit Blue Mounds yourself and see how beautiful the park is and how much of an asset the trail system is to experience it.  Sign this petition and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Most importantly:

Contact Paul Zajakowski (Paul.Zajackowski@wisconsin.gov) by DECEMBER 16, 2015.

 

 



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