BayCare Clinic joins effort to get more people out on the state trails

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- With more beautiful weather on the way, a local health organization is hoping to get more people outside on the state trails including its own employees.

For more than a decade, Brown County’s park director said the Fox River State Trail has been used for exercise, commuting and leisure.

“Anyone and everyone in the community truly uses our trails,” said Matt Kriese, Brown County Parks Director.

However, when skateboarding, rollerblading or biking, you are required to have a state trail pass.

“The annual pass is valid at 41 other state recreational areas in the state of Wisconsin,” said Kriese.

In an effort to get more people out on the trails, Live54218 came up with a plan.

“We knew Brown County wanted to increase number of state trail passes sold, so we reached out to hospitals and BayCare Clinic reached out and said they would purchase them for employees and physicians,” said Mario Gonzalez, community engagement lead for Live54218.

“As a healthcare organization, we are promoting healthy lifestyles and healthy living with all of our patients, and our leadership also thinks it’s important to promote those things in our employee population as well,” said Tony Violetta, director of human resources for BayCare Clinic.

BayCare Clinic has pledged to buy state trail passes for all of their employees. If all 900 want one, BayCare Clinic is looking at putting about $22,500 into the system.

“By purchasing these trail passes for their employees, it’s not only showing that care they have for their employees who work for them, but more so it’s the symbol of what it means in the community,” said Gonzalez. “That they are investing in the well-being of everyone in Greater Green Bay.”

The money collected through state trail pass sales goes into a maintenance fund for the trails, which is necessary since the trails are now open all four seasons.

“So we’re plowing and that requires additional dollars,” said Kriese. “That is an unbelievable public/private partnership and we are so grateful because those partnerships keep this trail maintenance in a high regard and keeps trail usable for years to come.”

“Given that this benefits the community, as well as our employees, we figured it was a win-win,” said Violetta.

If you’ve been thinking about trying out the state trails, Kriese said now is the time to do it. In honor of National Trails Day, all state trails in Brown County are free to use this weekend.