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Friday, October 15, 2010

Land Purchases Bolster NCT in Wisconsin

submitted by Todd McMahon

Two major land purchases and several smaller ones have bolstered the North Country Trail in Northern Wisconsin. Using state and federal funds, the 3995 acre Nemadji River Tract on Wisconsin’s western border was purchased in August. Also, in late September the State of Wisconsin purchased land northeast of Copper Falls State Park. Plus, several smaller tracts are being purchased near Solon Springs in hopes of eliminating the road walk there.

The purchase of the Nemadji River Tract from the Wausau Paper Company will allow 6 miles of the North Country Trail to be built on that property. Plus, 4 more miles of the trail could be built on adjacent lands. The Nemadji River Tract was purchased using 1.9 million from the State of Wisconsn’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and another 1.9 million from US Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program. The 3995 acres will become part of the Douglas County Forest.

At its September 2010 Board Meeting, the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources agreed to purchase the 720 acre Stilin Properties Tract. The property adjoins Copper Falls State Park to the east, and other state property to the north. In the purchasing agreement, it specifically states that the North Country Trail will be sited, developed and maintained through the property. It will help eliminate the Trail’s dead end at Copper Falls State Park. The land was purchased for $936,00, which includes a $85,028 donation from the John Dolan Dee Estate. The land will become part of the Ashland County Scattered Forest Lands Program and some of the land may eventually become part of Copper Falls State Park.

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has purchased 3 smaller properties near Solon Spring. One of the properties is a key link to eliminating the road walk north of town. The two other properties are private properties that the NCT currently is on.

The Brule/St Croix Chapter of the North Country Trail is working on eliminating another dead end by completing the trail from Spring Creek to Gordon Dam County Park. According to Tim Mowbray, President of the Chapter, the trail is already cleared to Gordon Dam County Park, but it passes through some wet areas where boardwalks and a puncheon will need to be built. In order to obtain the permit to build the boardwalk and puncheon, a Certified Floodplan Engineer will be hired to prove the structures will not be a flood hazard. The National Park Service has set aside money to hire the Certified Floodplain Engineer and the Brule/St Croix Chapter has already bought most of the materials for the project. The Chapter is hoping to work on the structures next summer.

This segment is on NCTA map WI-01, 02

See Brule- St. Croix Chapter of the NCTA


samh said...

The NCT through NW Wisconsin is exquisite and these land acquisitions will bolster that superbly.

Matt Forster said...

What do you mean by bolster? Is this property surrounding the existing trails, or will these purchases allow an unfinished portion of the trail to be connected up?

Sharkbytes said...

Matt -
Both of these will be new allow for pieces of trail. Currently the trail extends to the north end of Copper Falls SP, but then just dead ends, so thru hikers, usually bypass that beautiful piece.

The Nemidji River piece gets another critical connection from Douglas Co Forest land to... well, I don't remember off the top of my head, but it will be new trail.

the NCT is only dreaming of surrounding the trail with a viewshed, at this point. We still have too much real trail to build.

Todd said...

All of a sudden the State of Wisconsin is actively purchasing land that will help the NCT. This is a really good development.

University of Wisconsin-Superior said...

Actually, not all of a sudden. These purchases are the last from a fund of $500,000 in federal money allocated for trail corridor in Wisconsin in 2001, with an equal state matching amount from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. The fund is all fully spent for land purchases and easements in the Mellen, Solon Springs, and Foxboro areas. Much more route needs to be acquired, and we hope for additional resources to purchase it before it gets used for an incompatible purpose.