Ryan Harden

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State Trails Council Meeting July 26th, 2019

State-Trails-Council-Pic Overview of the WI State Trails Council Meeting

​I had the pleasure of filling in for Luana Schneider, our WI4x4 rep, at the July WI State Trails Council meeting which was held at 10 am at the Waupaca County Courthouse. For those that don't know, The Wisconsin Governor's State Trails Council (STC) was created by statute 15.347(16) in 1989. The STC provides advice and consultation to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on the planning, acquisition, development, and management of trails in Wisconsin.

Key topics for us included how to link our upcoming tours and maps to the DNR and Tourism sites, as well as the Trail Building School that the DNR can bring trail builders to. I would be very interested in designing a full-on Slow Speed Trailbuilding course we could teach at Camp Sinawa or Tigerton each year. 

Linking our site - We talked in-depth about the requirements to link from a government site to ours. We're already on the way to making that happen as we've discussed through our website and the upcoming trails app we're designing. Bryan Much and I talked at length about this subject at the end of the meeting, Bryan runs the WI Off-Highway Motorcycle Association and also adds many tours and such to his sites. 

Trail Building School - To date, I haven't found any organization that teaches a Slow Speed Trail school. This needs to change. We can't expect land managers to build trails we want if they don't know how to build them! We can offer these courses online and in-person and now, the DNR has ways to pay for these types of classes for DNR folks. While this is in the very early stages, and I have no idea what their stipulations are for who's qualified, this topic needs some serious research. I believe RL4WD can be a leader in this segment in the coming years. 

We had a presentation from the Waupaca trails folks (non-motorized) both at the city and county levels. They produce a very nice booklet of trails that I could easily see using as a template for our upcoming tours. Their guide is very well laid out, easy to follow, and professional. Furthermore, we could produce this in-house here at the office! 



Then we had a national trail team, the North Country Trail Association talk about their efforts to connect many states worth of hiking trails. This is a multi-lifetime endeavor that I had no idea was even in the works. It was fascinating learning about their efforts and how they work. They came up with these unique A-frame clearspan bridges for walking trails that are sturdy and cost a FRACTION of the cost of other types of bridges. If a normal bridge for something 16' long comes in at say... $25,000, they can do it for under $4k! That's some major engineering and again, it was interesting learning about all the load and wind certifications a bridge must pass.

Overall it was great hearing about all the sports and what they're doing as well as the DNR and the progress they are making on many fronts. It sounds like the DNR has been given some options on things they didn't have before, this should help public recreations in the coming months and years. I could feel real energy and excitement in this meeting, though it was long, if you listen to the sessions, it was full of great content! I hope I can make the next meeting and would surely sit at the table again if asked. I would be interested in becoming the 4x4 rep if asked as well!

Below is the audio from the morning session. You can stream it, or download it to your device and play it offline. 

Below is the audio from the afternoon session. You can stream it, or download it to your device and play it offline.

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