Take These Trails Along Former Wisconsin Railroad Lines For An Unforgettable Experience
Earlier this week
we told you about the oldest rail trail in the county that’s located in western Wisconsin, but Wisconsin actually has a rather extensive rail trail network.
And now a trail conservancy group is working to connect many of the trails to create a network of trails that would reach more than 500 miles.
The whole thing is a work in progress, but it’s not too far fetched to imagine a network of trails that stretch south from Sheboygan down to Chicago and west to Madison and even all the way to Minneapolis. The project would connect rails in seven counties – Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha.
The system is being called the Route of the Badger.
The rise of the railroad industry coincided with Wisconsin's statehood. Our state was criss-crossed with different rail lines that were so crucial to state and national shipping interests.
As time progressed, many of those rail lines fell out of use and in recent years they've been converted to hiking and biking trails.
From the trails in the suburbs and country to the ones that have been created in the cities, Wisconsin has more than 90 different trails totaling more than 1,800 miles. But many of the trails have finite starting and stopping places.
The goal of the Route of the Badger is to identify where there are gaps in the current trails, raise funds and eventually connect them.
It's a paradigm shift from creating single trails to envisioning a network of inter-connected trails that cross state lines.
Wisconsin and Illinois were two of the first states to work on converting their abandoned railroad tracks into hiking and biking trails.
Which is what makes the idea of the Route of the Badger so interesting and exciting.
To link major cities and smaller towns across state lines would be a huge step forward.
Wisconsin has a long history of appreciating and putting aside land for public spaces and parks.
These rail trails really just expand upon our already amazing record of making our natural resources accessible to everyone.
From the Hank Aaron and the Oak Leaf trails in Milwaukee to the Interurban trails in Ozaukee Count and Racine, there's already a solid foundation. Connecting those trails to the more rural ones, like the Glacial Drumlin will help make this trail a world-class destination.
Completing the Route of the Badger could be just the first step to connecting a network of trails state-wide.
These trails are a whole new way to see and enjoy all the beauty that Wisconsin has to offer.
Want to know more about the Route of the Badger? Check out the
Rails to Trails website.
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