Our Mission

Raise funds to build and maintain fun, sustainable, high-quality, single-track mountain bike trails in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

Logo 1996–2021

The Early Years

You may remember when trails were closed to mountain bikers across Wisconsin. With a unified group of mountain bikers; one by one the trails were re-opened and a relationship began with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

In 1993, the DNR formed a cooperative agreement with various members of the cycling community to raise $75,000 to secure trail development. The agreement was signed by RIDE, Wheel & Sprocket, Trek Bicycle and the LaGrange General Store. It was determined to raise the promised money through an annual timed mountain bike event to be held on the very land we were working towards, and thus the Fall Color Festival was born.

New Loops at John Muir

July 30, 1994–Two new loops (white and blue) were officially opened.

The First Annual Fall Color Festival

October 1, 1994–The first event was held, raising $7,500. The event featured three different timed events for the various levels of rider abilities and a children's event. The Fall Color Festival would not be possible without help from our proud sponsors, a dedicated group of volunteers and a great relationship with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 

Meeting with the DNR

March 13, 1996–a small group of mountain bikers met with the DNR at the Forest Headquarters in Eagle to get feedback on their plans for the mountain bike trails. We identified areas of the trail system that require work and set-up a meeting for Tuesday, March 19th to organize the first work day. Ray Hajewski, DNR, met with us to approve any work before we started.

Ever since that first work day, volunteers have been activiely involved helping to maintain the trails. They have learned best practices for building and maintaining the mountain bike trails.

Improvements at John Muir

1998–The Department received a grant of $173,600 in State Stewardship funds to develop and pave a 100 stall parking lot, develop a trailhead with a kiosk, add a pressurized water system, construct a new pit toilet building, and landscape and fence the area. The parking lot stalls will be 12 feet wide instead of the normal 8 feet wide to allow for loading and unloading of bikes. Improvements were completed in the summer of 1999.

IMBA Trail Care Crew

August 17, 1998–The IMBA Trail Care Crew visited the Southern Kettle State Forest to evaluate the mountain bike trails and help develop a trail maintenance plan that includes removing artificial surfaces. In order to minimize erosion, artificial surfaces were installed on a trial basis on the John Muir, Connector and Emma Carlin trail systems. The surfaces were very slippery, especially when wet and proved to be hazardous. Over the years, many sections of the trail have been redesigned to help with erosion control and follow best practices for building sustainable trails.

Great Resource: Guidelines for a Quality Trail Experience

Shelter Building at John Muir

June 3, 2000–In celebration of National Trails Day, the Shelter Building at the John Muir trailhead was dedicated today in a special ceremony. Mike Bettinger, LaGrange General Store, cooked-out on the new grill, donated by the DNR. Thanks to all the people who made this event such a huge success.

The shelter was built by a dedicated group of volunteers including: Ken Anderson, Mike Bettinger, Mark Blando, Kristin Branch, Sean Burkey, Dale Carson, John Duchac, Ray Hajewski and his entire family, Warren Heise, Jon Jerome, Bob Kazmerchek, Chris Kegel, Jerry Kegel, Gary McCarthy and his daughter Nichole, Sherie and Derek Nelson, Jeff Panosian, Brenda Pamperin, Brad Pope, Kevin Putzke, Harald Schmidt, Mike Skoine, John Siegert, Jason Stollenwerk, Tom Vomastic, James Wamser, Michael Westphall, Tim Zatto.

It was purchased from Cedar Forest Products by the Fall Color Festival and its Proud Sponsors including Trek, the Metro Chapter of Worba, Wheel & Sprocket and the LaGrange General Store.

Crazy Trail Building Crew

Led by our own TrailBlazer Dave Mangan, a dedicated group of volunteers, affectionately known as the eSpecially CrAzy IrRegular TrailBuildin’ Crew has done an incredible job building and maintaining our technical and challenging mountain bike trails.

Want to join this fun group of mountain bikers and help improve the trails, email: Dave Mangan


Donations we made

2000

Shelter Building–$24,000

2001

LaGrange Fire and Rescue–$1,000
DNR–$10,000

2002

Trail Maintenance–$4,500
UW Whitewater Cycling Team–$1,000

2003

Tools–$375
IMBA trail design–$3,020
DNR (John Muir Map)–$992 

2004

UW Whitewater Cycling Team–$1,000
DNR–$7,000 

2005

UW Whitewater Cycling Team–$1,000
Trail Maintenance–$4,975

2006

Trail Maintenance–$4,995
Tools–$498
UW Whitewater Cycling Team–$1,500

2007

Trail Maintenance–$4,995
UW Whitewater Cycling Team–$1,500

2008

Tools–$799
Trail Maintenance–$4,500
UW Whitewater Cycling Team–$1,000
LaGrange Fire and Rescue–$1,000 

2009

Trail Passes for volunteers–$280
IMBA Work on Emma Carlin–$1,798
Trail Maintenance–$500
Trail Maintenance–$3,000
UW Whitewater Cycling Team–$1,000

2010

Trail Maintenance–$2,500
Tool–$574
DNR–$781
DNR (John Muir Map)–$551
Wisconsin Bike–$500
UW Whitewater Cycling Team–$1,000 

2011

Trail passes for volunteers–$280
Tools–$821
Generator–$432
Trail Maintenance–$2,500 

2012

UW Whitewater Cycling Team–$500
Trail Maintenance–$2,500
Plexiglass for Kisok–$586
Trail Passes for volunteers–$615 

2013

Tools–$500

2014

Trail Maintenance (skills area)–$1,000
Polaris Ranger UTV–$3,500 

2015

Trail Maintenance (skills area)–$1,000
LaGrange Fire and Rescue–$500 

2016

Trail Passes for volunteers $318 

2017

Trailer for UTV–$4,000
Supplies for trail work–$349
Tools, Cedar Split Rail Fence–$618
Trail Passes for volunteers–$325 

2018

Supplies for trail work–$525
Tools for trail work–$487

2020

Supplies for trail work–$1,850
Riding Lawn Mower maintenance + parts–$450

2021

Supplies for trail work–$525
Chainsaw and Lawn Mower parts–$100 

Note

Prior to 2000, financial records were kept by RIDE

Event Director and Website: James Wamser

– Proud Sponsors –

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