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