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Conover May Question Its Bike Path Plan

Belal Khan

The town of Conover may reconsider its plans to build the first leg of a bike trail connecting Conover with Phelps. The move comes alongside Vilas County’s push to explore more ATV route options. 

Conover town board members are scheduled to discuss Wednesday whether to back out of an 850-thousand dollar bike path and snowmobile route. 

Funding has already been lined up from the Department of Transportation and local snowmobile clubs. 

Jeff Currie of the bike advocacy group Great Headwaters Trails says backing out of the project comes with consequences, including payback of tens of thousands of dollars in design fees. 

“At this point a change in the project would cost all that money, Conover would have to pay all that money back, and there would be penalties. And this is like I said a project that’s not gonna cost Conover any money unless they do decide to abandon it.”

The town could also have a harder time getting other federal grants in the future. 

Conover Town Chair Steve Rhode  says the discussion is a result of Vilas county officials’ request that the town board consider how the plan would get in the way of ATV use on the route.

Vilas County Forestry Committee Chair Steve Doyen says it’s not a push for ATVs, it’s a move to consider all options. 

“The county’s just waking up to the fact that if we take and use these old rail road grades and make em into trails, and use certain grants for them, they’re locked up for silent sports only. For 25, 30 years, we can’t do anything else.”

Snowmobiles would also be allowed in winter months.  Vilas County opened the door to more ATV routes…when it amended its land use plan this summer. 

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