A new portion of Fern Ridge Trail in St. Germain will be celebrated with the community on Jan. 18.
Fern Ridge Trail has taken silent sport enthusiasts through the Vilas County township for more than 40 years, noted Anne Small, St. Germain Non-Motorized Trail Committee.
“We want to highlight that we have a new parking area and a new connector loop to the existing trail,” Small said. “Overall, this is a recreational area, and this is the hub.”
According to a press release from the trail committee, the trail addition is in part due to the “unsafe location” of the previous parking area along Highway 155. The new parking area has been moved to the town’s yard waste site.
The recently acquired property with the Fern Ridge Trail was owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, but purchased by the town of St. Germain in 2017.
Since that time, volunteers have been working on a trail reroute and additional trail construction to increase the length and connectivity to other area trails, including the extensive Heart of Vilas County Trail System, Small indicated.
This new portion of Fern Ridge Trail, completed in November, includes a bog boardwalk and .6-mile connector loop, which leads to and from the parking area.
“We want to let people know we’ve added to the trail system,” Small said of the Jan. 18 weekend event. “People attending will learn more about the trail and plans by the Non-Motorized Trail Committee heading up efforts for the trail building, maintenance and issues … it’s open for everyone.”
The particular St. Germain trails are for snowshoe, hiking, skiing and biking.
“It’s really a beautiful stretch of woods,” Small said. “The property is very neat, with open woodlands, hilly terrain and it’s very scenic … the plans are to add more trails here in the future.”
Goals for coming years include developing a sledding hill on the property and incorporating it into the silent and motorized trail areas.
“The hope is to open up to more non-motorized trails in the future, including biking and fat (tire) biking,” Small said. “I really like to see people get out and enjoy the natural resources we have … it’s a wholesome family activity. I feel good about being a part of developing these trails.”
The trail and parking lot can be accessed at 2005 Forest Lane in St. Germain. Hosted by the Non-Motorized Trail Committee, the community is welcome to attend from 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 18 to check out the new loop and parking area. There will be snowshoeing opportunities, a bonfire, hot chocolate and marshmallows. A limited amount of adult and child snowshoes will be available for borrowing.
“We hope to put it on the event list to do it every year,” Small said.
For more information, one may contact Small at 715-614-3711 or go to Snowshoe Fern Ridge on Facebook. More information about other area trails also is accessibly there.