Paving an Additional 3.3 miles of Trail

Connecting to the 52-mile Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail System at the
intersection of Hwy K along Hwy H to North Creek Rd, creating a 14-mile loop.

Phase 2 Construction is Underway! After some unexpected delays, the crew is out on the trail and progress is being made. Soon the trail will go all the way to North Creek Road where bikers can continue on the road to make a full loop.

We'll update this page when we get closer to a finish date. And we've already begun planning for a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony later this summer! Stay tuned!

The Announcement We've All Been Waiting For...

Phase 1 and 1.5 Are Complete and Phase 2 Is Fully Funded!

The North Creek Trail Loop Project Fundraising Committee is pleased to announce that the entire loop will be complete next season!

At the Town of Boulder Junction monthly board meeting on Tuesday, October 24 the Boulder Junction Community Foundation granted the town $266,195 to help cover the costs of Phases 1 and 1.5 of the North Creek Loop Trail - this fund balance represents the fundraising we have worked so hard to achieve!

In addition to the funding of Phase 1 and 1.5, the Foundation confirmed that a generous donation made by Liz Uihlein is being retained for the funding and completion of Phase 2, running from Ritzke Trail Road to North Creek Road.

Phase 1 and 1.5 construction was completed this fall and officially opened to trail users on September 22. Phase 2 construction is scheduled for construction and completion in Spring of 2024.

The Boulder Junction Community Foundation, an affiliate member of The Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, has been managing the North Creek Loop Trail Fund during the fundraising phase.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to each and every one of our donors. Your support has helped complete the Loop!

What is the North Creek Loop Trail Project?

The Town of Boulder Junction is overseeing the construction of 3.3 miles of paved trail that will complete the 14 mile North Creek Trail loop of the Heart of Vilas County Trail system in the Boulder Junction area. The new trail runs from the intersection of County Hwys K and H (where it will connect to the existing bike trail between Boulder Junction and Manitowish Waters) along the east side of Highway H up to North Creek Rd. Trail users will then be able to continue down North Creek Rd to access the existing bike trail along Highway M connecting back to Boulder Junction.

Phase 1 of the project runs from Highway K to Rudolph Lake Road, where a large private campground with 223 sites is located. Phase 2 of the project will run from Rudolph Lake Road to North Creek Road, where a state forest campground with 25 sites is located on Upper Gresham Lake.

Maintenance of the trail after construction will be conducted by the town as part of the existing town trail system.

Why complete the loop and who benefits?

The scenic Heart of Vilas County trails in the Boulder Junction area are well loved by residents and visitors for their multiple healthy recreation uses (bicycling, walking, running, roller blading, etc.) and provision of a safe transportation network into Boulder Junction and to adjacent communities.

SAFETY

Currently residents and visitors along the 3.3 miles of proposed trail along Hwy H (including visitors to the 223 sites at Camp Holiday and 25 sites at Upper Gresham Lake State Forest Campground) have no safe access by bicycle, foot, or other non-motorized recreation into Boulder Junction or to the existing trail system east and west. Highway H is a 2-lane county highway with narrow shoulders and curves not safe for bicyclists, walkers or runners.

14 Mile Loop

Construction of the trail would resolve these safety issues as well as enhance access to the Boulder Junction community for residents and visitors. Construction of the trail to complete the 14 mile loop will also provide another safe and scenic riding option for the many bicyclists that visit the area to enjoy the Heart of Vilas County Trail system.

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North Creek Loop Trail Project Details

Summer 2024 - Phase 2 Construction Complete and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to Be Held

Spring 2024 - Phase 2 Construction to Begin

September 2023 - Phase 1 and 1.5 Construction Complete

May 2023 - Phase 2 Grants Submitted

May 2023 - Phase 1 Fundraising Complete

May 2023 - Phase 1.5 Grant Awarded

Fall 2022 – Phase 1 Trail Construction Begins

September 2022 – Accepted Phase 1 Bid; construction timeline pending

September 2022 – Phase 2 DNR Grant denied

June 2022 – Construction Bids opened; bid due diligence in process

May 2022 Applied for Phase 2 DNR grant

May 2022 - Phase 1 Goes out to Bid

February 2022 Anticipate hearing outcome of Phase 2 DOT TAP grant application - delayed but still under review

January 2022 Applied for Phase 2 DOT TAP grant

October 2021 – Phase 1 surveying to be completed

October 2021 – As of early October, all needed clearing equipment parts have been received and repairs made. Trail clearing to resume and continue through the winter.

July 2021 – Trail clearing began. Due to severe storms across the Northwoods in late July, along with the breakdown of equipment, clearing has been idle since early August. Storm damage clearing tasks became immediate priority and, due to COVID-19 issues, procuring needed parts for clearing equipment was delayed.

June 2021 – Phase 1 fundraising complete ($520,000 - THANK YOU DONORS!)

May 2021 – Phase 2 DNR grant application submitted (expect outcome September 2021)

April 2021 – Boulder Junction Community Foundation grant awarded ($5000)

December 2020 – Phase 1 fundraising begins

October 2020 – Town of Boulder Junction approves project and funding ($100,000)

October 2020 – Boulder Junction Community Foundation designated fiduciary

September 2020 – DNR grant awarded ($217,299)

May 2020 – DNR grant application submitted

February 2020 – DOT grant denied

December 2019 – DOT grant application submitted

Fall 2019 – Grant writing begins

December 2018 – Donation requests begin

Summer 2018 – Public information/awareness campaign begins

March 2018 – Verbal contact with property owners

March 2018 – Planning meetings with Vilas County Highway Commission and Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest

March 2018 – Town and Country Engineering selected

March 2018 – Requests for proposals sent to seven engineering firms

September 2017 – Committee receives permission from Town Board to move forward with planning

August 2017 – Ad hoc committee formed

A National Recreation Trail

The Heart of Vilas County Paved Bike Trail System is officially a National Recreation Trail. The honor, bestowed by the Secretary of the Interior, is given to public trails which positively represent their regions, support diverse communities, and are considered among the nation’s best trails. They must be well-managed and maintained and a clear asset to their areas. The Heart of Vilas County trail system joins more than 83,000 miles of National Recreation Trails listed in an online, searchable database, easily accessible to outdoor enthusiasts looking for the best spots to explore. www.americantrails.org/national-recreation-trails

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