An expansive new bike trail system, designed to connect all ages with the outdoors while enhancing recreational opportunities, is being constructed at the Veterans Memorial Park complex at Jack Lake.
Spearheaded by the Langlade Area Mountain Bike Association in conjunction with the Antigo Swim Club, fundraising is underway for the multi-year project, which carries an overall price tag of about $80,000.
“We need two things,” Andrew Tainter, among the organizers of the trail, said. “We needs funds, and we need volunteers to get the work done.”
Phase one—carving out a largely new single-track trail system on the south and west side of the park—will be completed this summer and fall. The Langlade County Board of Supervisors has already given its blessing.
“This is all new,” Brady Koss, one of the project organizers, said. “Only about one mile of it is already cut into the woods.” Subsequent phases through 2018 and 2019 will extend the trail’s length around Game and Jack lakes and connect with the existing ski and hiking trails to the north.
“The end goal is to create an extraordinary, 25-mile trail system that will draw outdoor enthusiasts from across the Midwest,” Tainter
said. “We want to create a superb system that becomes a destination for riders.”
The mountain bike group has acquired a great piece of trail building equipment, a trail-specific bulldozer that will carve four-foot wide
trails through just about anything, with assistance from City Gas, but more equipment and manpower is needed to complete the work.
Langlade County is home to two very technical mountain bike trails—at Langlade and at the former city landfill site south of Antigo—but the
Jack Lake experience will be different, Tainter and Koss said. Rather than challenging the most experienced of riders, the initial trail will be
designed for families and cyclists of all ages, including those new to the sport.
“This is going to be an easy to moderate trail with some advanced sections,” Tainter said. “We want the people who camp at Jack Lake to be able to ride all of it.”
The trail will also be open to hikers and in the winter months, to skiers, snowshoers and fat-tire cyclists.
The project’s partner, the Antigo Swim Club, will see benefits as well. The club uses its Michelle Koss Memorial Splash-N-Dash aquathon as its primary fund-raiser, and the swimming and running event has plateaued. Adding a singletrack cycling component will create a second unique threesport event in the area, along with the Langlade area’s Wolfman Triathlon that featuring whitewater paddling, cycling and running.
“Our vision is to turn it into an off-road triathlon,” Tainter said. “It could become a big draw throughout the Midwest.”
That would increase the club’s revenue and help it work towards its goals of promoting competitive swimming and teaching the lifelong
skill to youth.
“The swim club board would like to unveil The Splash-N-Dash Offroad Triathlon during the summer of 2018,” Tainter said.
The group’s overall goal is to increase the opportunity for developing individual and family health within the community. Jack Lake is the perfect location, the organizers said, with a campground, existing trails and shelters, lodges, chalet, restroom and showers. All that’s needed is the actual trail.
“Our desire is to create a multi-purpose trail system that adds both intrinsic value and financial value to the community,” Tainter said.
“We are dedicated to the success of the project and look forward to the challenges of fulfilling the goal of expand ing recreational opportunities in the county.”
Several organizations have already signed on, including City Gas, the Hyland Lakes Lions Club, CoVantage Credit Union, and Kiwanis Club.
For more information or to make a donation, contact Jeremy Stensberg, president of the Langlade Area Mountain Bike Association,
at 715 216-3559. Information is also available on the association’s Facebook page.