Will Krift of Trails Anonymous provided his expertise, volunteer supervision, and operation of a mini excavator to ensure a final product everyone can all be proud of.
“Working with Will is always great. He is a talented trail builder who knows how to make hard work fun,” said trail volunteer Gene “The Machine” Lemmenes.
“This has been the most complex project undertaken by Bayfield Area Trails to date due to the trail length, the relative inaccessibility of the route, and transporting equipment and materials,” observed John Ipsen, BATs Trails Subcommittee member and dedicated volunteer. “Xcel Energy has been great to work with, allowing us to use the power line road to access the trail,” he added. “That access greatly reduced the amount of time spent by volunteers to get to the trail.”
Building a Bridge Slideshow
In advance of building the trail tread, Ted May, Peter Rothe, and Kate Kitchell used chainsaws, loppers, and muscle to clear the trail corridor. While Will and volunteers built the trail tread, Sean Reagan led the construction of a small bridge to protect a drainage on top of the plateau as well as facilitate emergency access. He also mowed between the power line and the Jolly Long Trail to make the final trail connection.
Altogether, 34 volunteers contributed over 320 hours working on the new trail, flagging the trail corridor, cutting trees and small shrubs, removing stumps, hauling and dispersing trail vegetation, and raking a smooth four-foot-wide tread. After the snow melts next spring, follow-up work will address drainage and other residual needs to create a finished trail.
In 2022, BATs received $21,150 from donations and grants to kick off the project. This recent trail-building cost a little over $11,000, leaving funding available to put toward the cost of constructing a substantial steel or fiberglass reinforced plastic bridge to cross Pikes Creek that will withstand the periodic high-water events that can flash through the riparian corridor. To achieve this second phase of the trail in the summer of 2023, BATs will continue fundraising for the bridge, expected to cost as much as $55,000.
For now, the trail is best accessed via the Jolly Long trail at Mt. Ashwabay. The creek crossing bridge from the Hatchery trail is not in place yet. Stay tuned for opportunities to help with this next important phase of construction.
Jemma and Julien Johnson recently greeted Carol Fahrenkrog, Town of Bayfield representative on the Bayfield Area Trails Committee, and Kate Kitchell, BATs Committee chair, at the Gil Larsen Trailhead in Bayfield with a gift of $3,000 to Bayfield Area Trails! The funds represent the proceeds from this year’s Jared Johnson Cribbage Classic, an event held at Bayfield’s Lakeside Pavilion in honor of Jemma and Julien’s father, Jared. The tournament is sponsored by Jared’s friends.
“Jared loved cribbage,” said Anna Johnson, Jemma and Julien’s mom. “Nick Wszalek, a life-long friend of Jared’s, started the tournament in 2021 with cribbage boards made and donated by Dale Ripp. Joey Ann Meyers contributed graphic design work, and Genny and Tim Hay and other friends helped out with the organization. Many local businesses sponsor cribbage boards, and contribute items for the raffle as well as food and drink. They want to honor Jared’s memory by gathering friends, family and community to play cribbage with the goal of raising funds to support organizations and initiatives that benefit kids and families who live here.”
Looking up the Big Ravine to the Iron Bridge, Anna said, “The Johnsons lived close to the Big Ravine and Jared spent some of his best days playing here when he was a kid. When he had the chance to walk the new Big Ravine trails in the fall of 2020, he was so happy about how they made this special place more accessible for people, especially kids. We’re glad to be able to support that work.”
Carol voiced her enthusiasm for the trails; “I’m excited that the Bayfield Area Trails Committee will have a chance to put this gift toward top priorities, including the new trail connection between the State Fish Hatchery and the Mt. Ashwabay Trails that is being sponsored by the Town of Bayfield,”
With a grateful smile on her face, Kate said “How wonderful that Jared loved these trails—and that we’re able to work on them in his honor for others to enjoy. We are truly touched by this gift. Many thanks to Jemma and Julien, their mom, Jared’s other family members, and many friends for this generous support of Bayfield Area Trails.”
Blog | Bayfield Area Trails