Somebody will correct me if I am wrong but the way I understand this is that most of the original 8-10 miles of trail is unaffected. What is sad is that Lax had plans for, I think, 30-40 miles of trail and that new construction is effectively thwarted unless this can be worked out.
I'm really curious to see what happened at the meetings that were mentioned in the article. I'm of the firm belief that the DNR is being obstructionist in this whole endeavor. They are completely in the pockets of the Hunting lobby[keep in mind, I have NOTHING against hunting]. Down here, there are VAST areas of green space that could easily accommodate a trail system, but because of DNR [mis]management, access is denied. Cycling really does need to be added to the acceptable use list. The economic benefits for allowing such use I think are clear.
I ran into a guy from LaCrosse this past Fall and asked him about it. Per this guy, "the Mt bikers were stunned as they had permission from the DNR. They did formal studies, so the point that it was not approved at a high enough State level rings untrue and unethical. (there were public meetings, reports, emails, and letters flying back and forth to get it all approved. ) Which is backed up by the request (not order) by the State to no longer ride the trails. Also, the State later contacted HPT and asked why trail construction stopped? The State was surprised HPT wasn't going to build trails they couldn't ride."
It was just a guy in the woods riding a bike I talked too. I think he had some credibility as I have seen a copy of at least one letter/memo from the DNR. The letter did in fact say "please do not ride..." as opposed to saying bikes are not allowed. Makes a person wonder if the State may think they are on some shaky ground. But of course, this is just speculation on my part.
Talk about a sock in the gut. Hundreds of hours devoted to that project. They bought a $30,000 machine............ Efed up, all because some beauacrat (sp) got all pissy.
I've sent an email to the moderator of the HPT Discussion Boards, asking him to post an update of the situation and any suggestions on how we can help. I've asked that they post the news here on this thread, but it will probably take a few days, so stand by and stuff.
Human Powered Trails, Inc. (HPT) is an organization whose mission is
to develop and maintain sustainable and environmentally correct human
powered shared-use trails. As an organization we have logged over 4500
hours of volunteer hours in trail building and reclamation and other
public service activities. Our trail builders have been educated in
trail development by the DNR's Trail Master Training course, the
International Mountain Bike Associations Trail Care Crew, and Trail
HPT worked cooperatively over a two year period with the Mississippi
Valley Conservancy (MVC), the City of La Crosse, Myrick Hixon ECO
Park, and the DNR to develop a plan to join together to protect the
community's blufflands for natural, scenic, and recreational purposes.
This plan, the La Crosse Bluffland Protection Plan (LBPP), was put
into operation with assistance of the local DNR representatives.
Parcels of the land within the LBPP area were parcels of land
purchased with money from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship fund.
On April 17, 2009 after several miles of trail construction HPT was
instructed to cease trail construction which we complied. A meeting of
the groups involved in the development of the LBPP master plan,
members of the DNR consisting of the Regional Land Program Supervisor,
the Stewardship Grant Program Manager, and DNR legal counsel was held
May 1, 2009. Each party was given an opportunity to explain their
position. HPT's position reaffirmed that a state goal for the for the
tract of land in question on the LBPP was to have trails that provided
better protection for the natural resources by helping direct the flow
of human-powered traffic as from the most sensitive areas rather than
rogue trail development. The conclusion of this meeting resulted in
the agreement the DNR "would review the issues presented, revisit the
properties, and relook at the biking issue with the information
provided to be taken into consideration. It was understood that HPT
would be included in the DNR's review and tour of the property". A
follow-up meeting was scheduled for May 21, 2009 to allow adequate
time for department review and group tour of the property".
On May 21, 2009 representatives of HPT, MVC and the City of La Crosse
entered that meeting in good faith. It was apparent from the onset
that there was to be no compromise and that we had been called
summarily to be hand delivered a letter from the DNR dated May 13,
2009 directed to MVC restating the DNRs rational for terminating
trail construction and further defining timelines for reclamation of
the newly constructed trail. Neither HPT nor the biologists from MVC
were given the opportunity to tour the property in question as had
been agreed. To date HPT has complied with all of the demands of this
letter. At this time we continue to work with all LBPP parties and DNR
representatives in La Crosse and Madison in hopes of arriving at an
As stewards of the land we recognize the need to maintain the
integrity of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program. We understand
that the Knowles-Nelson program has the dual purpose of protecting
wildlife habitat and natural communities while at the same time
providing the required recreational opportunities (the five nature-
based outdoor activities: hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, and
cross-country skiing) as defined in SS Conservation 23 but also
considering other allowable outdoor-based recreational opportunities
(including bicycling) as defined in Administrative Code NR 51. We
believe that we complied with the master planning process defined by
the DNR to allow bicycling on these lands only to have the agreement
The proposed Administrative Code NR 52 was to provide the DNR with a
well defined process to exclude one of the NBOAs. HPT objected to this
proposal on the grounds that it did nothing to address the loophole of
"other allowable activities" defined in their own administrative code
NR 51. The proposal had passed through all of the necessary
administrative requirements and was presented to the Natural Resources
Board (NRB) on January 26, 2010. Thirty-four speakers that included
State Senator Dan Kapanke of La Crosse and a representative from HPT
provided testimony. Following testimony and open debate the NRB voted
unanimously to forward this proposal to the legislature for further
A leadership group comprised of the Bike Federation of Wisconsin, HPT,
IMBA, and WORBA has been working closely together and are planning to
address the legislative committees and key Assembly and Senate members
as this issue comes before them for review. HPT feels that this is an
issue that is important to all off-road cyclists in the state as the
outcome is significant to the future development of trails not only in
La Crosse but the state of Wisconsin.
Thanks for reading and I hope to keep you all abreast of future
developments as they occur.
Human Powered Trails
A forum community dedicated to Mountain Bike owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about bike parts, components, deals, performance, modifications, classifieds, trails, troubleshooting, maintenance, and more!