Trail Development

11:02 a.m. on November 7, 2011 (EST)
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I'm going to be moving back to my home state of Wisconsin, from Missoula, MT.  Having backpacked in MT for the last 6 summers, I'm going to be feeling a little caged back in WI.  I've been to all the developed backpacking areas in the region, and am now considering creating my own trails in Northern WI and the U.P.,   I'll essentially be bushwacking, chasing hardwood ridges, lake to lake hikes, following rivers, etc...  There's a ton of National Forest in Northern WI and the U.P., but there seems to be a shortage of 20-50 mile loop options, which I think are ideal lengths for weekends/long weekends.  If there is anyone in the area that would be interested in joining me, contact me at  Feel free to hatch a plan and run it by me.  Also, does anyone know the proper channels or any organizations to go through to develop trails?  I feel like there's a ton of potential for great trails in the Northwoods of WI and the U.P. 

3:25 p.m. on November 7, 2011 (EST)
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Why, if you enjoy hiking off-trail, do you want to create trails and destroy the off-trail experience for others?

I don't understand, please explain. Thanks.

12:36 a.m. on November 8, 2011 (EST)
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If you end up building new trails, you may want to check out a copy of this:'s+Complete+Guide+to+Trail+Building+and+Maintenance&pf_id=PAAAIAJPMNPJBGFP&dept_id=3020

If I recall correctly, it was first published in the late 70's (or early 80's??), and is now in the fourth edition. 

9:51 a.m. on November 8, 2011 (EST)
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I guess I should have been clearer.  A better term would be "routes", not so much as trails.  I'm not talking about heading out on my own and building full-on trails.  That would be a huge undertaking and would require some serious manpower to develop.  The U.P. has plenty of room to accomodate more developed trails and still leave plenty of untouched ground for the bushwackers & hunters. 

3:13 p.m. on November 8, 2011 (EST)
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There is a forum I use here in Az. called Hike Arizona (HAZ). Of course its mainly geared to hiking in Az but it has a listing of trails for various states that people have posted. some have GPS routes with them. You can download or upload routes.

Heres a link to the Wi. pages, might be helpful to ya

4:43 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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Kleon: Government agencies generally frown upon such actions (they might call it "poaching in trails"), as you may clear an old trail, opening it up to more use, and then likely not be able to maintain that trail over time. This means the management responsibility falls back to the agency, which may have closed the trail because it doesn't have the resources to manage it properly. Many trails are closed because they travel through very sensitive environments which do not respond well to human traffic. Others are closed because they were originally user-made trails, which often follow the fall-line of a given slope to some degree, making them prone to severe erosion, and then gullying. This can make the trail both treacherous to human travel and a barrier to species migration: Wide, deeply-cut trails can effectively create "micro-communities" which become isolated from each other as some small ground mammals and invertebrates will not cross them, and the compacted soil prevents roots/suckers from growing underneath. Furthermore, such isolation creates what is known as the "founder effect," which reduces genetic diversity and increases the rate of inbred mutations.

Government agencies entrusted with land stewardship are sorely underfunded already, and budgets are still being cut more every year. Now, you might find more support, when running into rangers on the trail, if you tell them "I love these woods, and I'm trying to help you guys with trail maintenance. I walk these trails every day, and I appreciate them, so I thought 'why shouldn't I carry a Pulaski and a McLeod with me to do some trail maintenance where needed?' I just figured you guys could use the help."

As a wilderness ranger for the BLM, I would love to hear someone I met on the trail say that to me!

6:56 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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There is little to NO virgin exploration on this orb.

It has either been mapped via satellite or geological survey. It has been trekked by our for father and natives alike. I hope that you will not scar the land for the sake of "blazing a new trail" or trespass and infringe where not welcome.

With that said, get the oldest maps that you can and find county roads and logging access. Many states have rules and regulations for documented "goat trails". Even though it may be overgrown for decade there may still be viable and proper ways to "blaze old trails" in the name of "access"


5:01 p.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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Keep us all posted this sounds like a good cause

5:34 p.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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Callahan said:

Keep us all posted this sounds like a good cause


9:46 a.m. on November 14, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks for the input guys.  I'll be spending some time in the winter months pouring over Google Earth & cadastral mapping trying to get things going.  It's amazing how many mid-western backpackers I've encountered in MT.  There definitely seems like a demand for some more backpacking options in the U.P. & northern WI region.  I don't know...... maybe I just want to try to bring a little of MT home with me.    

6:24 p.m. on November 15, 2011 (EST)
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Maybe you will get to name a few

April 21, 2018
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