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Energy & Environment

VC Trail Gets Committee Approval; GHT Seeks Final Money To Finish

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Great Headwaters Trails
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The location of the last segment of the Conover-Phelps bike trail into downtown Phelps was approved by the Vilas County Highway committee Tuesday along Highway K with a number of safety concerns expressed by the committee and a private landowner.

Great Headwaters Trails originally wanted the trail on the south side of Highway K rather than the north side which they indicated would cross less private driveways but be more expensive. That cost could be mostly eliminated if a grant application of $150,000 would be approved.

Vilas Highway Commissioner Nick Scholtes indicated about 30 percent of the plan has been completed but they require both county and town board support. “The Phelps town board approved the north route and I received one concern from a private property owner, the Walker family, who expressed safety concerns,” Scholtes said, with town chairman Steve Doyen with the same concern saying “we support the north route as long as the concerns of the Walkers are addressed.”

Great Headwaters Trail spokesperson Rollie Alger said the steepness of the grade is a concern and “our contractor will meet with the Walkers to discuss visual sight lines.” Highway committee member Jerry Burkett was concerned about “erosion next to the highway” and Charles Hayes felt “doing nothing doesn't solve the problem.”

The committee supported the north side route along Highway K as long as erosion and visual concerns are addressed.

Meanwhile, 

The Finish Up the Conover-Phelps biking and hiking trail appeal is in the final days.

The goal is to top off the funding needed to build the last section of the trail next summer. Great Headwaters Trails President Jeff Currie says they can see the finish line...

"...We have two miles of the 11 miles left to build. Nine miles are on the ground and have been enjoyed. We would like to bid out the trail project for the last few miles sometime this spring. In order to do that we need to know we have the funding that we need. The appeal target is $30,000 and we're about two-thirds of the way to that target right now. The response has been very good...."

A $15,000 Challenge Fund will match all donations.

Currie says they've been meeting with the Forest Service and county officials to work out the details of the build. He says anyone interested should go to their website...

"..The easiest thing for a person to do is check our website, that's ghtrails.org for Great Headwaters Trails. Right away, the first thing they will see on the site is how they can help donate to finish the Conover-Phelps trail...."

GHT volunteers have been meeting weekly to get the project ready to bid out this spring.

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