DNR weighs reopening snowmobile trail at Blue Mound State Park

MT. HOREB, WIS. (WMTV)--- Should the Wisconsin DNR reopen a 1.4 mile section of snowmobile trail that used to run through Blue Mound State Park? About 300 people turned out at an open house at Mt. Horeb Middle School Tuesday night to discuss that proposal.

Snowmobile club supporters were on hand to ask the DNR. to reopen the section of the trail between Blue Mounds and Black Earth that runs through the park. It closed after the winter of 1990 because of a landowner dispute.

Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs Executive Director Sam Landes said, "We're very interested in this issue. We've had several interactions with the DNR regarding the reopening of the trail for snowmobilers for the past several years and we believe it should be reopened."

He said reopening the trail will provide a safer way for winter sports enthusiasts to enjoy the entirety of it, and take snowmobiles off of an area roadway. "It's obviously more safe, and it's more enjoyable for those that can't hike and bike, that can ride a snowmobile to enjoy the park as well. We have a route connecting on the road...but we're asking to get it off the road for safety and experience reasons. We feel our request is fair and it's reasonable."

DNR Property Planner Phil Rynish said snowmobilers are just one group interested in using the park. "While we certainly hear about trail-based activities and everything that goes along with those, there's a lot of interest in camping, in wildlife watching, in the observation towers and hiking--all of the different activities that happen here.

He added, "We're really considering everything during this planning process--not just one or two issues that you might be hearing about. There are a lot of other users of the park who are here to talk about what they like about the park. Again, we're in the very beginning of the process, just sort of scoping, talking about topics that we should be considering during this planning process."

Commenting on the large turnout at the open house, Rynish said, "I think it shows that people love Wisconsin state parks, and they really love Blue Mound State Park. They're interested in its future and they want to give their input and make their voices heard as we plan for the future of this park."

The DNR is accepting public comments on the planning process until March 26. You can comment on-line using the DNR website link attached to this story.