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First step forward for a multi-use trail from the Fox Cities to High Cliff State Park

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 6:59 PM CDT
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MENASHA, Wis. (WBAY) - An idea to connect a trail from the Fox Cities to High Cliff State Park in Sherwood, has been in the works for decades. On Friday, the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission announced at Heckrodt Wetland Reserve in Menasha, that the idea to connect hikers and bikers is now becoming a reality.

“The first thing we need to do is have a master plan, have a shared common vision, and an approach to say how can we connect the Fox Cities to High Cliff State Park,” said Kim Biedermann, Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator at East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.

The first step was announced Friday after a $100,000 grant was donated by the David and Rita Nelson Family Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

“David and Rita passed away a few years ago and left a $100,000,000 gift to the Community Foundation to establish a charitable fund to support projects like this,” said Curt Detjen, Community Foundation President and CEO.

The grant will pay for the comprehensive plan and feasibility study, to address the safest way for trail users to cross Highway 10/114, and if building elevated boardwalks to avoid damaging wetlands along 114 is economical.

Officials say there has been an incredible amount of interest and enthusiasm in making this connection happen.

“People are getting outdoors, they’re using our trail systems and there’s a desire to connect the entire trail system in this whole region. And connecting to High Cliff is one of those top tier opportunities and the fact that we’re able to get this started with this plan, it’s going to lead us to the chapter to build this out in the next couple of years and actually make it a reality for the people who live here today and all the people who will call this home in the future,” said Detjen.

In a collaborative effort, with the help of multiple municipalities, state agencies, and non-profit groups, the project is finally becoming possible.

“We’re so excited to be here today to join in this partnership, this investment, and our residents’ quality of life, and this opportunity to enhance the entire region,” said Menasha’s Mayor Don Merkes.

Officials expect consultants to begin the proposal process in the fall, taking about nine months, and hope to see the project in development as early as next year.

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