Marinette County Administrator John Lefebvre, seated at right in front of map, presented a conceptual map of the new mountain biking trails at the County Board meeting last month. The trail system will have 10 zones featuring varying levels of difficulty to allow skill progression for mountain bikers.

EagleHerald Staff Writer

MARINETTE—Marinette County Administrator John Lefebvre updated the County Board last month on the progress of new mountain biking trails slated for development in the Goodman-McClintock Park area in Athelstane.

“What we’re trying to do is attract tourists to Marinette County as a recreational opportunity, but also to give people who live in this area an opportunity to use some of these features and recreational opportunities,” Lefebvre said.

The Marinette County Board approved June 29 a $44,430 contract with International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Trail Solutions, which specializes in developing single-track mountain biking trails, for the first phase of trail design. Lefebvre estimated that the cost to construct the entire trail will come out to a total of about $1 million. The County Board approved a $500,000 allocation for the trail in the 2022 budget to pay for some trail development in 2022.

The county is planning to use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to cover the approximately $544,000 so far committed to this project. Lefebvre said, however, that it is yet to be determined if the remaining costs will be covered by ARPA funds.

IMBA Trail Solutions works with the company Rock Solid Trail Contracting, which will undertake the actual construction of the more technical mountain biking trails. County staff will build the less technical trails and maintain all the trails once their construction is finished.

The system will ultimately comprise 10 zones ranging from lengths of half a mile up to 12 miles. Each zone will feature varying levels of difficulty to allow for skill progression. Zone One, for example, will be a short beginners loop, while Zone Six will have large boulders and more technical terrain for intermediate and advanced bikers. Some of the trails will also have lake side and primitive camping options. “We’re trying to give a full experience for individuals who would like to come and utilize these mountain bikes in Marinette County,” Lefebvre said.

The county is hoping to construct 10 miles of trail by late fall 2022, although Lefebvre noted that this is an ambitious goal. The system will ultimately have about 50 miles of trail that will be constructed over a three- to five-year period. Lefebvre said he is hoping that Rock Solid will begin trail construction in late summer or early Fall.

The county is also planning to work on other trails, parks and campgrounds this year.

Lefebvre will be working with the County Forestry Administrator Pete Villas to develop a Cross Country Ski Trail network in the Lake Mary area that will hopefully be open for use by next winter. The project will add to a portion of the current Middle Inlet Equestrian Trails network. Lefebvre said, however, that the county will likely have to wait until 2023 to acquire trail grooming equipment, and the trails, therefore, won’t be groomed until winter of 2023-24.

The county is also looking to expand the McClintock Park Campground and develop a new campground in the Town of Dunbar, in addition to improving the walking surfaces, signage and view platforms in some areas of the waterfall trails in Marinette.