Greetings Bayfield Area Trails Enthusiasts!
As we watch the golden glow of autumn blow away, it's time to reflect on the successes of our field season and to give thanks to everyone who helped to make them happen! What an incredible year it has been! Read the month-by-month progress below.
Click pictures for a larger view. Click underlined text to learn more about a project.
The trail building season began with our annual Fundamentals of Trail Construction and Maintenance Training, followed by the exciting construction of Hemlock Heights in the Big Ravine under the skillful leadership of our favorite trail builder Will Krift. Hemlock Heights connects the Gil Larsen Trail in the bottom of the Big Ravine with the Ravine's west side trails network, thereby opening up a whole new variety of loops. If you haven't explored this new trail yet, it's not too late; and...if you like a cardio workout, Hemlock Heights is the trail for you!
Gracie's Trail that connects from Betzold Rd. to Fire Tower Hill Rd. was also constructed. We are grateful to Drew Froeliger for generously allowing Grace's Trail across his property and we hope this leads to other private land crossings in our trails network. In June, steps were also added to steep sections of the Pine Bluff Trail to reduce erosion and make them more easily passable during slick periods.
On October 15th, a whirlwind of equipment and raking crews distributed and spread 20 cubic yards of gravel on the low muddy sections of the East Rim Trail.
As leaves fall and the tick populations decline, we have resumed efforts on the Pike's Creek Hatchery Connector project again. Thanks to adventurous field reconnaissance done during the spring, there is an initial proposed route to connect the Hatchery Trail to the Jerry Jolly Trails at Mt. Ashwabay with a non-motorized trail. We are initiating coordination and seeking permits and easements from the DNR, with the goal of pursuing grants for trail construction in 2022-2023.
Bayfield Area Trails is working with the Town of Bayfield and Landmark Conservancy to possibly purchase 10 acres of wetland at the headwaters of the Big Ravine Preserve on the north side of Meyers-Olson Rd. This would permanently protect the wetlands habitat and the Big Ravine watershed as well as provide a lovely opportunity for a trail for watching birds, beavers, and other wildlife in the wetlands.
Our last coordinated project for the season will be to rebuild the rock steps along the Gil Larsen Trail above the waterfall. Upon looking at this location we concluded that the rock work was more critical than replacing the boardwalk. So, we will be assembling a small crew to work with Will Krift. While on location, we will also do some final trail stabilization and drainage work on the lower end of the School Trail before the snow hits.
We will start planning a virtual meeting to talk about the future of Bayfield Area Trails, including seeking participants in our new Trails and Communications subcommittees. We will also discuss initial thoughts for 2022 projects. Please keep your eyes peeled for an invitation to this meeting in January or February.
As you can see, we made lots of headway on our 2021 - 2022 priorities. This could not have been accomplished without the truly remarkable participation and enthusiasm of our Bayfield Area Trails Stewards. The greatest reward is seeing how many people love these trails! Although we haven't had a chance to add up all of the hours from this year's season, you can be sure that it was hundreds of hours plus donations of equipment and creative ideas.
At the risk of forgetting someone...a HUGE ROUND OF APPLAUSE AND THANKS TO OUR 50+ VOLUNTEERS:
And...we must not forget the folks who are working behind the scenes on project support, including accounting for funds and paying bills. Thanks to the City of Bayfield staff, Parks and Recreation Committee, and City Council. We also greatly appreciate the support from the Town of Bayfield staff and elected officials!
Thanks to everyone who has brought Bayfield Area Trails to Life! Happy Trails!