DNR Has to Hear from Cyclists

Do you want more opportunities to bike on state lands? More linear trails? More single track? How about improved trail surfaces, better signage or more related facilities?

Then now’s the time to let your voice be heard.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking input from all user groups about what they would like to see in the future. And, frankly, the motorized recreation users are out pacing us in their response rate.

DNR has broken up the state into eight regions for its massive  Recreation Opportunities Analysis (ROA). There is an oversight committee, on which the Bike Fed has a seat. But the input really happens on the ground with users themselves.

The Recreation Opportunities Analysis is being done in eight regions. The Northwoods is nearly complete while public input on the Great Northwest and the Upper Lake Michigan Coastal regions is happening right now. Other regions will be tackled later in the year.

The department used the North Woods region as its test case. Through three public meetings and online survey results the leading demand was for, “more trails for motorized recreation.” That garnered 883 responses. “More natural surface bicycling trails,” came in third with 509 responses and, “more paved bicycling trails,” finished fifth with 422.

So, taken together, the demand for more cycling trails either for paved trail or mountain biking came in as the top response. But it’s important to note that the process started because motorized sports interests got the legislature to require the DNR to inventory all of the roads through its properties with a view toward opening many of them to motorized activities.

That’s why it’s so crucial that we make sure that as the department moves to the other seven regions our voices are heard even more clearly than they were in the North Woods.

The DNR is making this easy. There are online surveys you can take for the Upper Lake Michigan Coastal Region, which includes Marinette, Oconto, Manitowoc, Brown, Kewaunee and Door counties), and for the Great Northwest Region (Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Burnett, Washburn, Sawyer, Polk, Barron and Rusk counties).

And, if you’re in those areas later this month, you might want to attend an open house meeting. All meetings run from 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM and, with the open house format, you can stop by any time during that period to pick up information and voice your opinion.

Here are the scheduled meetings:

• Tuesday August 22nd – Stone Harbor Resort & Conference Center, 107 North 1st Ave, Sturgeon Bay
• Wednesday August 23rd – Community Center, 901 Henriette Ave, Crivitz
• Monday, August 28th – Hotel Chequamegon, 101 Lake Short Drive West, Ashland
• Tuesday August 29th – The Lodge at Crooked Lake, 24271 Hwy 35 North, Siren
• Wednesday August 30th – Community Library 418 Corbett Ave, Ladysmith

You don’t need to be a resident of one of these counties to participate. If you have a favorite place you like to go in either region or if you just want to express your support for more cycling opportunities in a place you haven’t been yet, please jump in.

Open houses and online response opportunities will be announced for the remaining five regions later this year.

The Bike Fed doesn’t oppose motorized sports. But we want to make sure that these activities don’t take over trails now used for biking and walking, that the uses are compatible when they’re in close proximity and that resources are fairly distributed among different kinds of trails.

About Dave Cieslewicz, Executive Director

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

3 thoughts on “DNR Has to Hear from Cyclists

  1. It’s safe to assume we’ll try. But I’d encourage everyone to do the online surveys — you can do them for multiple regions. We all have an interest in cycling facilities statewide because you never know when you’ll want to use them in the future.

    • Thanks, Dave. I will be doing surveys for each region since I find myself all over the state while “recreating”. :-)

      I was just asking about future posts since I already follow your blog and it will be one less thing for me to watch for if I know you’ll announce them here.

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