Kenosha County Parks is in the early stages of planning a new trail system adjacent to Petrifying Springs Park that will include dedicated facilities for mountain bikers, as well as multiuse trails for hikers, bikers and runners.
Meantime, bids are now being accepted for a restoration of 1.1 miles of existing hiking/running trails within Petrifying Springs, with the work expected to occur this summer.
Kenosha County Parks Director Matthew Collins released this information on Tuesday, in response to misinformation on social media about the conversion of some trails to mountain biking only.
“Our goal is to get more people on the trails with less environmental impact,” Collins said.
Collins said the planning process that is under way includes representation from the local mountain biking and running communities, as well as the county and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. As plans develop, the public will have the opportunity to review and comment.
The new trails to be developed will be on 139 acres of UW-Parkside-owned land immediately east of Petrifying Springs Park. Kenosha County and the university last year entered into a 50-year agreement through which two parties will work jointly to improve environmental management and recreational access to the land.
“We have everyone working together to find mutually beneficial ways to make improvements on the UW-Parkside property,” Collins said. “And we have also hired a consultant, a professional designer through the Great Lakes Trail Builders, to create a comprehensive plan on how to optimize a trail network while being sensitive to the surrounding Pike River watershed.”
Collins noted that the UW-Parkside land presently includes unauthorized trails, cleared over the years by users without the university’s permission, which are used by mountain bikers, runners and hikers.
The formalized trail network being developed, Collins said, will include some dedicated mountain bike trails that will be maintained by the Kenosha Area Mountain Bike Association, as well as other, wider, multiuse trails that will accommodate all users. The precise locations and configurations of these trails will be determined through the comprehensive planning process, Collins said.
Collins said the existing network of trails within Petrifying Springs Park will not change through this process.
These trails include the paved multiuse trail that runs the length of the park, the paved loop north of Highway A, the boardwalk and trail that connect to Highway KR, and four miles of unpaved trails that wind through the woods throughout the park, 1.1 miles of which will be restored this year.
“Through the restoration work to come this year and the comprehensive planning process for the new network on the UW-Parkside land, we look forward to offering all of our users a stronger, safer system of trails in and around Petrifying Springs Park,” Collins said. “Our goal is to continue to grow the hiking trail network between Petrifying Springs Park and UW-Parkside.”
For more information about Kenosha County Parks and all of its facilities, visit http://parks.kenoshacounty.org or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KenoshaCountyParks.