BIKE TRAIL THREATENED: We need YOU to attend a meeting or send an email to keep the Gandy Dancer non-motorized!!!

Bicyclists & hikers need to turn out in force to the Polk County CDRE meeting on 3/2/2016 @ 10:15AM - as dozens of us did last year!
As responsible citizens and bicyclists/hikers/outdoors people, it's critical that we be good stewards of our trails.  Sometimes, this requires becoming politically active - and now is once again that time.  

On Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 10:15AM, the Polk County CDRE Committee will be taking public comment in regards to increasing motorized use of the Polk County section of the Gandy Dancer State Bicycle Trail.  Click HERE to view the official meeting agenda.  

Specifically on the table is a re-working of the Polk County Gandy Dancer Trail segment that will allow continued use of ATV's on the Gandy Dancer State Bicycle Trail - or even an increased number of these "special ATV events".  Additionally, allowing ATVs to use the trail during the Autumn & Spring seasons during the "frozen ground" season is both impossible to enforce and will damage the trail surface. 

We ask bicyclists & hikers who enjoy non-motorized trails to show up in force at this critical meeting - following is where we need you to be this Wednesday (public comment officially starts at 10:30AM, so show up at 10:15AM):
March 2, 10:15AM
Public Hearing regarding the Gandy Dancer State Trail
Polk County Gov’t Center (100 Polk County Plaza, Balsam Lake, WI)

Sadly, no action on your part is a vote again bicycles & hikers enjoying beautiful non-motorized trails in our region.  Polk County Officials need to hear the following messages loud and clear:
  • Non-motorized trails, including the Gandy Dancer State Bicycle Trail are critical to our local economy, health, safety, and lifestyle.  On an annual basis, our non-motorized trails bring tens of thousands of tourists to Polk County, generate millions of dollars in tourism commerce, brick and mortar businesses choose Polk County as where to locate their business to world class trails, trails provide a safe venue to exercise & recreation for residents & tourists alike, and trails provide our children a safe place to bicycle/hike/enjoy the outdoors.
  • Motorized "special events" should not be held on the Gandy Dancer State Bicycle Trail - rather, these events should be held on one of the many great motorized trails within Polk County.
  • Motorized vehicles should not be allowed to use the Gandy Dancer State Bicycle trail during the "frozen ground" shoulder seasons.  This "frozen ground" criteria would be very difficult to understand/interpret for ATV'ers (the trail could go from rock hard to soupy soft in a matter of an hour or less), would damage the trail surface (as it has in Burnett County in past years), and would be very difficult/costly for the county to enforce. 
If you're not able to personally attend the meeting and haven't already submitted a letter to Polk County officials, please email the following gentlemen your thoughts on the matter, where you are from, how you enjoy the trails, and how the trails lead you to spending money in Polk County.  
William Johnson
william.johnson@co.polk.wi.us
Dana Frey
dana.frey@co.polk.wi.us
 
Following is more information and context for you on the history of the Gandy Dancer State Bicycle Trail:
CLICK HERE to view a great blog post with many facts on the Gandy Dancer trail - links to master plans, how to file incident reports, and a link to a great document outlining the full history of the Gandy Dancer trail - dating back to the decommissioning of the railroad in 1984. 

The Gandy Dancer State Bicycle Trail is a safe place for kids and families to enjoy the outdoors! 

3 comments:

  1. I believe that if they allow motorized vehicles we then have to pay back $$$$ to the feds, something to check on.

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  2. There is some truth to this Mary - thanks for your comment.

    I do believe though that the time frame where the money for the initial build out of the trail would have to be given back if the trail is used for motorized use has - or is about to expire. Note the trail timeline in the link following - as funding for the trail was received in 1994 (over 20 years ago now).
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bys4jqCjXI9fZTNoSkNWQUxBR0k/view

    Also, the motorized lobby is trying to get around this (and other resistance to motorizing the trail) by sneakily trying to get more motorized vehicles on the trail by having "special events" - in other words single day special events where ATV's or antique cars are allowed on the State Bicycle Trail. In effect, regardless of the number of "special motorized events", it would still be a bicycle trail...

    Frustrating to be sure... Thank you for your support!

    Frank
    Partner, Cyclova XC

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    Replies
    1. To reinforce what Frank said here: The Gandy Dancer State Trail was developed with substantial Federal funding. This funding required that no motorized vehicles use this trail (not even snowmobiles) but the feds turned a blind eye this sort of activity. Now the feds have taken the position that the useful life of the Gandy's limestone surface has been met and the counties that manage various sections of the trail can do with it as they see fit. The thing is, the surface is perfectly fine.

      Brook Waalen
      715-566-3061

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