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Langlade County News

History on Foot Trails in Old Langlade County

July 27, 2012

In addition to rivers, many important foot trails ran through Langlade County; some following paths established by the local Indians. One of the earliest was the Lake Superior Trail, established in 1861-1862. It started in Shawano and ran to Lac Vieux Desert. The trail was used in winter to drive cattle and deliver supplies and mail to the copper mines in the Michigan Upper Peninsula. From around White lake to Pickerel, it ran along the western bank of the Wolf River. The trail became impassable in summer. This trail would later form the basis for the trails that the lumbermen would use to transport supplies from Wausau and Shawano to the lumber camps. Another foot path that opened Langlade County was the Military Trail. It was commissioned by congress in 1863. The united States was engaged in the civil War and the sympathies of the British and their colonies in Canada were uncertain. Congress wanted to move troops to the Canadian border in case of invasion. The Military Trail ran through Langlade County from Elton through Langlade and Ainsworth Townships. The trail would not be completed until the 1870s, but it served to open up the area Of traders and lumbermen. In fact, some think that the Military Road was promoted more to benefit the lumber industry than for its military utility.

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