Newbold town board supports OCBWTC’s effort for Rookery Run national designation
Hess: ‘It’s busy out there all the time’
The Newbold town board on Sept. 14 formally agreed to support the Oneida County Biking and Walking Trail Council (OCBWTC) in pursuing National Recreation Trail (NRT) recognition for the trails at Rookery Run.
“And we figured that this is historic in the fact that we
reclaimed a landfill.”
Rookery Run is the name of the disc golf course and hiking/snowshoe trails at the town’s outdoor recreation area near Ole Lake Road.
Town chairman Dan Hess said he met with OCBWTC president Jackie Cody at the town’s recreation area prior to the meeting to talk about the NRT designation. He said the recognition would put Rookery Run on the national registry.
Cody spoke to the board and said NRT began in 1968 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Trails System Act.
“The Trails Act (stimulated) the founding of the American hiking society, which has led to the National Trails Day, which is observed on the first Saturday of June,” she said. “The trails nearby that have achieved National Recreation Trail status are Anvil Lake Trail, which was sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service; Bearskin Trail, which was sponsored by the state of Wisconsin; and the Heart of Vilas County paved bike trail system, which is city, town and county sponsorship.”
Cody said Rookery Run’s NRT application is “in the city, town and county sponsorship category because it is in the town of Newbold.”
The application, she said, is due by Nov. 1 to American Trails, and the OCBWTC will submit it on the town’s behalf.
Prior to the application submission, Cody indicated a letter of support or adopted resolution from the town board would need to be included.
“After that step is complete, the application will be sent with pictures and letter of support or resolution to the Wisconsin state trail coordinator ... ,” she said. “And from there, (the coordinator) sends it back to us with a letter of support from the state, providing we have filled out the application and we have the support of the town.”
The NRT designation isn’t a guarantee, Cody said. However, she said once the application materials are all submitted by Nov. 1, the town board will be notified by February of 2024 if Rookery Run’s application is up for review.
Laughing slightly, Cody said the town will not know if it received the designation for Rookery Run until June 7, 2025.
Rookery Run should be designated, she said, because it offers users interactive signage, it’s one of the most walkable trails in the county with a natural surface and “was beautifully laid out by Tony Martinez, who is a master designer for the Department of Natural Resources.”
All of the benefits to the town from NRT designation, Cody said, include: Official signage being placed at the trail, Rookery Run being included in the nation-wide searchable database, designation could help with state funding programs, designation offers fundraising possibilities for the town as well as for OCBWTC.
She also noted how the national recognition could add value for nearby property owners.
Town supervisor Mike McKenzie complimented Cody with regard to the information packet she prepared for board members. He said he thought there was a lot of interesting information included in it.
“It’s busy out their all the time,” Hess said.
Town supervisor Petra Pietrzak said she’s been a bicyclist her entire life and the bike station at Rookery Run was the first she’s ever seen.
“And, the second thing is, the park, the area, is right along one of our Newbold designated trails,” she added. “So this continuity (is) very cool.”
Cody also noted how the NRT has OKd trails spanning only one-tenth of a mile.
“And we figured that this is historic in the fact that we reclaimed a landfill,” she said. “Which, to me, is the ultimate (achievement) in conservation.”
Hess said the town will draft a letter of support instead of adopting a resolution in order for OCBWTC to file the application as soon as possible.
Trevor Greene may be reached via email at [email protected].