Fund raising campaign underway

The Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) has been the leading cycling advocacy organization in northwest Wisconsin for the past 25 years, developing a solid infrastructure of off-road mountain bike trails of varying levels of difficulty across a very wide region. “As successful as CAMBA has been,” notes executive director Ron Bergin, “our trail system has been deficient, however, in truly beginner, entry-level trails and it is our desire to rectify this short coming by creating a trail of this nature.” CAMBA has partnered with the Hayward Area Memorial Hospital (HAMH) to develop up to six miles of “gateway” level, natural surface trails on the hospital property on the edge of the City of Hayward.  “The hospital has taken a very proactive approach to promoting healthy outdoor recreation and activities, and this project is an excellent fit with their strategic plan,” adds Bergin. In addition to providing access to wooded lands surrounding the hospital property, HAMH will also provide a portion of the funding to execute the project. A trail of this nature will help CAMBA round out its regional trail offerings and further contribute to the support of the cycling community and the regional recreation-based tourism economy.

A gateway trail is an entry-level trail designed and intended to attract younger or less experienced users.   The trail as a whole, will be easier than traditional singletrack mountain bike trails in that it will be wider (approximately 36-48 inches), have a smooth natural surface, gentle grades and turns, good sight lines, and no mandatory technical obstacles, e.g., roots, rocks, or challenge features. Riders will utilize this trail to develop skills and establish a comfort level that will allow them to progress to CAMBA’s intermediate and more advanced singletrack trails.

In addition to mountain biking, planned uses for the trail also include walking, trail running, and fat biking in the winter. Winter fat biking holds great potential for all of the same reasons as summer use, plus the wider nature of the trail will facilitate easier grooming and trail preparation during the winter. The new trail will have the net effect of eliminating user conflicts with skiers and snowshoers who also use other trails on the property. The HAMH property links to the City of Hayward paved bike trail, which will provide direct access to downtown Hayward and a connection to the Hayward Middle and High Schools.

It is also expected that this trail will be regularly used by the Hayward High School and Middle School mountain bike team that participates in the Wisconsin Youth Mountain Bike League. The gateway trail will also be a wonderful complement to the new bike park at Hatchery Creek Park and because of its proximity to the two local bike shops there will now be a convenient facility for the shops and other organizations to offer clinics and instruction, group riding experiences, bike demos, and team practices.

Construction on the new trail began in mid-July.  Approximately 1.4 miles of trail were constructed this summer with work continuing next season. Fund raising efforts are now underway to help support the project, which will cost approximately $11,000 per mile to construct.

Individuals, businesses, or organizations wishing to make a donation to support the CAMBA/Hayward Area Memorial Hospital bike trail initiative may do so by mail by sending a check to: Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA), P.O. Box 141, Cable, WI 54821. Please note on your check: Hayward Hospital Trails. Donations may also be made online at: /support/donate/.

For further information about the project or CAMBA, contact Ron Bergin, or (715)798-3599.