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.

Boulder Junction’s North Creek Loop Trail Receives $7878 Donation from Coontail Matching Campaign

The North Creek Trail Loop (NCTL) project, an extension of the Heart of Vilas County Paved Bike Trail, received a donation of $7878 from a matching campaign sponsored by Coontail.

From July 1-10, Coontail and Coontail Market accepted donations at the registers for the North Creek Loop Trail Project with the promise that they would match those donations. Along with the matching funds provided from Coontail, the Boulder Junction community proudly raised $7878 for the North Creek Loop Trail Project.

Currently residents and visitors along the 3.3 miles of proposed trail adjacent to Highway H (including visitors to the 223 sites at Camp Holiday and 25 sites at Upper Gresham Lake State Forest Campground) have no safe access to bike, walk, 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 the curves are not safe for bicyclists, walkers, or runners.

Construction of the trail will resolve these safety issues as well as enhance access to the Boulder Junction community for residents and visitors. Paving these 3.3 miles, will complete a full 14-mile loop and provide another safe and scenic riding option for the many bicyclists who visit the area to enjoy the Heart of Vilas County Trail system.

Phase I of the trail was scheduled to begin this summer; however, trail clearing obstacles, a late spring, higher bid prices, and grant notification delays has meant that the project start date is yet to be determined. All monies raised for the project have been set aside in designated accounts with the Town of Boulder Junction and the Boulder Junction Community Foundation - a 501(c)3 public charity that is managing the North Creek Loop Trail Fund during the fundraising phase.

Shown in photo left to right: Anna Allen, Coontail Adventures Store Manager; Steve Coon, Coontail Co-owner; Sue Fragassi, NCTL committee member; Jim Fragassi, NCTL committee member; Barb Konopacki, NCTL committee member; Scott Rogers, NCTL committee member; Jim Galloway, Town of Boulder Junction Supervisor; and Lisa Coon, Coontail Co-owner.

Patience is a Virtue

Definition: The ability to wait for something without frustration is a useful skill and a good aspect of one’s personality.

We are learning this lesson working with the North Creek Loop Trail project. There are several things going on that are frustrating – but also totally out of our control:
• Trail clearing had to be halted several times due to machinery breakdowns or bad weather.
• A late spring meant we had to wait to do a boring test – a requirement for putting together the bid packages
• Bid prices came in much higher than we anticipated due to the escalating cost of materials used in the construction of a bike trail – especially the boardwalks that are constructed of wood and steel
• DNR and DOT Grant committees are behind schedule and grant announcements are taking longer than expected

But the good news is that there is good news relating to things we can control:
• Despite delays, trail clearing will continue
• The town and our engineer are reconfiguring some of the specs in the bid and are finding considerable cost savings – and will continue to look for more cost savings
• We are reaching out to grant committees to get an update on grant announcement timing to find out how much longer we may have to wait
• The money we have raised is in designated accounts and will be there for us when we are ready – and generous donors are willing and able to give more!

Faith is also a Virtue!

And we have faith that we will overcome the obstacles thrown in our path and the project will move forward soon. Stay tuned for further announcements. We’re going to build this trail – have Faith!

 

Ways to Give

Online:

Click the donate button below

From the drop down menu on the giving page select:
North Creek Loop Trail Fund

By Mail:

Issue check to:
Boulder Junction Community Foundation

On the memo line write:
North Creek Loop Trail Fund or NCLT Fund

Mail to:
Boulder Junction Community Foundation
P.O. Box 675
Boulder Junction, WI 54512

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.

North Creek Loop Trail Project Details

June 2022 – Construction Bids opened; bid due diligence in process; construction timeline pending.

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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