DNR Approves Bike-Walk Bridge Over Manitowish River
Wednesday, the DNR approved an application to construct a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over the Manitowish River in the town of Manitowish Waters which has drawn opposition.
The 182-foot bridge will be built with private funds to link the Mercer area trails with the Heart of Vilas trails in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.
A private group pledged $1.5 million to the project. The state Natural Resources Board approved the idea at it's January meeting.
Several conditions were attached to the construction including the times of year construction can take place, not using heavy equipment near the water's edge, protection of the river during construction, and clearance requirements for the bridge to the water. The DNR said if constructed properly, the bridge would not impact wetlands.
After a public hearing, 20 comments came into the agency in favor of the project with 24 opposed. An earlier state plan did not go forward after concerns were raised about disturbing Native American artifacts.