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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Snowmobile Trail Through Peshtigo Goes To Council

Issue Date: August 31, 2016

After three years of unsuccessful attempts, it appears Peshtigo area snowmobile enthusiasts will be able to ride their machines through the city during the coming winter.

The most recently proposed trail route to connect the east and west halves of the River Road Riders trail was approved by the city's Streets and Drainage Committee on Monday, Aug. 22, and by the Parks and Recreation Committee after a tour during their meeting on Friday, Aug. 26.

If approved by City Council as expected at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 6, snowmobilers will be able to reach city business places and travel through the city to other destinations on the county's extensive snowmobile trail system after snow flies and the Peshtigo River is frozen this winter.

The proposed trail is only for winter snowmobile travel, not ATVs. It involves crossing the frozen waters of the Peshtigo River from the existing trail head on the east side to come out west of the river at the Badger Park beach.

The trail approved by the Parks and Recreation Committee crosses East Park Drive at the corner after leaving the beach, goes through Badger Park and the Badger Park Campground on already established roads, then enters the existing park hiking trail system. It comes out at the corner of West Park Drive and Aubin Street, where it enters the Town of Peshtigo and connects with the existing River Road Riders trail from the west.

Parks and Recreation Department Director David Zahn told Parks and Recreation Committee members Debbie Sievert and Brigitte Schmidt (chair) on Friday that the Streets and Drainage Committee had already approved using the needed part of Aubin Street as a snowmobile route, so they can travel along the shoulders to the point where it meets the existing trail.

The Streets and Drainage Committee had in fact approved two possible routes. The one selected by the Parks and Recreation Committee followed what Sievert felt would be "the path of least resistance." For its entire route, opening the proposed trail to the 12-foot width needed for the groomer would involve cutting only one dead tree that needs to come out in any case, one tree that is half dead, and three small tag alders that already are causing concerns.

Sievert, who is a member of River Road Riders, said the proposed route comes near only four homes, and she had contacted the owners of each. Two are snowmobilers who will be happy to have direct access to the trail and the remaining two have no objections.

In the Town of Peshtigo the trail will cross properties of Dave Spangenberg and Rick VanderVest and they are okay with it.

She said having an established trail through the city should make it less likely that snowmobiles will cut in front of other homes not on the route. She said everyone who lives near the proposed route had been invited to call if they have concerns and the few calls and letters she received have been addressed.

One property owner was concerned that deer would be frightened away, Sievert said, but added that as they stood there talking a deer busy eating nearby did not interrupt its meal.

"I think it's an awesome idea to be able to connect from the east side to the west side," Sievert declared. She said she had talked to the new police chief and he's all for it. Connecting the halves of the city makes it possible for snowmobilers to access local businesses and travel hundreds of miles if they wish without needing to trailer their machines.

Maps will be prepared, and several businesses have already contacted the club with requests to be on the map, Sievert said.

Sievert said the groomed snowmobile trail will also be available for use by Cross Country ski enthusiasts, and has proven popular with them in other areas.

In other business of the meeting the committee agreed to again allow Marinette County Land and Water Conservation Division (LWCD) to use the Badger Park Pavilion at no charge on Thursday, Oct. 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for Environmental Field Days. In case of rain, Zahn was authorized to schedule use for an alternate date. Zahn said this is something the LWCD has been doing each year for several years.

In her request for use of the park facilities, Ann Bartels, LWCD Information and Education Specialist, said they will set up five stations in the park for conservation-related displays, including displays of invasive and/or endangered plants and insects, fire prevention, etc.

Zahn said the senior exercise group sessions at the Drees Memorial Center have proven very popular and many of approximately 30 people who have been participating are showing visibly improved health. He said they have been exercising on Mondays and Fridays,and now would like to add Wednesday exercise sessions. Sievert and Schmidt both agreed he should give the needed permission.

Zahn said his department will again be short handed, as one of the workers from the Marinette County Jail's community service program has broken jail rules and will no longer be allowed to participate. Zahn stressed that the worker had broken rules while in the jail, and the infraction was not connected with his work in the park.

Zahn asked for input on ways to improve safety at the playground near the city's softball fields. He said during Men's Softball League play on Tuesday, Aug. 23 a home run ball had hit a woman who was sitting in the playground watching practice on another nearby field. She suffered a broken collar bone.

That accident raised concerns about the safety of youngsters who also may be playing there during ball games and practices, Zahn said. He doesn't exactly know the answer yet, but possibilities include moving the playground or putting up some sort of safety net, and other ideas would be welcome.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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