uman Powered Trails, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose mission is: “To develop and maintain first class sustainable and environmentally correct, human-powered, shared use trails for the La Crosse, WI region."
|Plan for mountain biking, cross country skiing trail on Grandad Bluff OK'd|
|Written by JOAN KENT | La Crosse Tribune|
|Saturday, 19 May 2001 20:48|
Part of Grandad Bluff could be open for mountain biking by mid-summer, and for cross-country skiing in the winter, under a proposal approved this week by city officials.
"Now people have to travel outside La Crosse to mountain bike," said Bob Marhefke, one of those who requested trails on the bluff. "We want to make La Crosse a destination where people come to ski or mountain bike."
The La Crosse Park Board on Thursday approved a proposal by Marhefke and Kurt Schroeder to put in mountain biking and cross-country skiing trails on the former experimental farm east of Hwy. FA, on top of the bluff.
The area will give bikers some off-road trails and skiers some additional routes in the winter, he said.
It also should reduce the use of Hixon Forest by what he termed "rogue" cyclists, Marhefke said. He admitted that mountain bikers do sometimes use Hixon trails despite signs that forbid cycling.
"This will be similar to the skateboard park," said John Satory, a La Crosse Common Council member who serves on the Park Board. "Before the park, people complained that there were too many skateboarders downtown. The park hasn't alleviated the problem, but it has helped."
The Hixon Forest board supported the new area as well but wants assurances that bikers won't use Hixon trails for access, said Brenda Haug, director of Hixon Forest.
"Mountain bikes are a problem now in Hixon," she said. "It is a safety issue because we have children out there. The problem is not going to go away. This (ski and mountain bike area) could be a good thing if it is done right."
The city should consider penalties for mountain bikers who go into restricted areas, Haug added.
The organizers said they will respect prairie grass areas being cultivated by Hixon and place signs telling skiers and bikers not to disturb them.
Satory and fellow La Crosse council member Joe Ledvina, who also serves on the Park Board, support creating fines for bikers who trespass onto Hixon trails, Satory said.
"I've been hiking with children, and all of a sudden someone comes zooming along on a bike," Satory said. "Plus, it erodes the trails. There is all the more reason to keep them from using Hixon as a way to get up to the new area."
The organizers would tend the mountain bike trails in the summer and plan to raise funds for a machine to groom ski trails, Schroeder said. He asked that the city otherwise maintain the ski trail.
The area already has logging roads and small trails, Schroeder said, and should be ready by mid-summer.