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Heart of Vilas County Trail Earns National Recreation Trail Designation


The Heart of Vilas County Trail is more than 50 miles of paved trail.

It connects five different communities from St. Germain to Mercer as it winds through forests and around lakes.

Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Theresa Smith says people locally and those vacationing take advantage of the trail system.

“People can come up to our area, stay in one community and spend multiple days riding the trail system because of its length,” said Smith. “Because it’s paved it makes it user friendly to all different skill levels along the trails.”

Credit Department of Interior

The Heart of Vilas County Trail is now designated as a National Recreation Trail.

This means it’s added to a national database for more people to find and learn about the trail. There will also be new signage that goes up throughout the trail system.

“We actually put the application in for this back in the fall of 2018, so it’s been a couple years that we’ve been waiting for the secretary of interior. It’s been a long time coming and I was extremely excited,” said Smith.

Smith said the trail keeps growing. There’s currently an effort to expand it from Highway K and H in Boulder Junction to North Creek and loop back to M.

This would connect the trail to Camp Holiday and Upper Gresham Lake Campgrounds.

“That will allow those campers to safely access the trail rather than riding the road to connect to it,” said Smith.

Smith says the town approved that project to move forward.

The trail committee is hoping to raise the rest of the funds needed this winter so it can begin the project next year.

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