Gateway to The Driftless (GTTD) has joined with local governments and other community partners to request the Dane County 2022 budget include a cost share toward construction of the proposed Wisconsin River Recreation Bridge.
The proposed bridge at Sauk City would connect the future Walking Iron Trail in Dane County to the Great Sauk State Trail in Sauk County, at an estimated cost of $8M. In a June 1 joint letter to Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, GTTD and the villages of Cross Plains, Black Earth, and Mazomanie urge construction of the bridge as being vital to the economic recovery and long-term growth of northwest Dane County after the pandemic.
“As our Northwest Dane County communities seek a clear path to economic recovery and a vibrant future, we see the proposed bridge as key to realizing our shared vision of a 60-mile world-class, multi-use recreational trail connecting our communities and the two counties. This trail system would be a major enhancement to our region’s quality of life and spur community growth and responsible long-term economic development.” the joint letter says.
A recently completed economic impact study by UW-Extension of the proposed bike-pedestrian-snowmobile regional trail found that by connecting Madison, Devil’s Lake State Park, the Black Earth Creek recreational corridor, Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Wolf Run Trail, Ice Age Trail, and other major state trails, the envisioned trail would be expected to be the busiest trail in the state.
A combination of public and private funding for development of the trail project is foreseen. The 2022 county budget request acknowledges Parisi’s leadership in the county’s establishment of the $1M matching fund for trail corridor acquisition in northwest Dane County along with the co-funding with Sauk County of the 2019 Wisconsin River Recreation Bridge feasibility study and also subsequent hydrological studies competed in the first quarter of 2021.
“Outdoor recreation, quality of life, and proximity to metropolitan areas have been shown to be key factors in attracting new residents, visitors, and employees to small communities. As the pandemic eases, and our communities begin to look up and out and to the future again, this challenging backdrop makes this an extraordinary opportunity to make a shared vision a reality.” the joint letter states.
Click here to view or download the joint budget request letter to Dane County and supporting requests from Wisconsin Heights School District, the Town of Mazomanie, and Wolf Run Association (PDF, 1MB). Click here to view or download the UW-Extension economic impact study of the proposed regional trail system (PDF, 3MB).