In Wisconsin, outdoor recreation is everywhere. Whether it’s a leisurely hike throughout the prairie or a rigorous mountain bike ride down a bluff, the authentic terrain of the Midwest state offers residents a natural playground that is unique to any other region in the world.
But without proper conservation and appropriate trail building techniques, the one-of-a-kind landscape would likely go unused.
The Outdoor Recreation Alliance of the 7 Rivers Region gathered for a trail maintenance day Saturday morning in the Upper Hixon Forest to upkeep existing paths and work on rerouting a more sustainable one.
The nonprofit organization, who morphed into their own entity from Human Powered Trails Inc., tends to trails most Monday nights and hosts additional community outings throughout the year.
Mike Charron, member of the ORA, said the group strives to bring awareness to Wisconsin’s driftless area by building sustainable, well maintained trails that can be enjoyed by people of all different skill levels. If they can get outside and experience nature, they’re more likely to appreciate it, he said.
“We don’t have any competition,” he said. “You can’t duplicate this.”
HPT offers visitors more than a dozen different trails to choose from that are categorized in three different difficulty levels easy: intermediate and advanced. The La Crosse Ridge Loop, for example, is categorized as an easy trail as it consists of mainly rolling terrain that coils throughout the prairie.
All trails were created by HPT years ago and require simple, regular maintenance, Charron said. But Stinky’s trail, on the other hand, showed signs of erosion and therefore needed to be rerouted.
“We want to make it a better experience,” he said.
The La Crosse Area Freeride MTB Group joined the ORA in outdoor maintenance by reshaping and repairing the dirt jumps located at HPT. The group will be working alongside the ORA to design a new bike tracks and develop new trails for the public to use, as well.
“The best thing is we’re finally working together,” Riley Seebeck, a member of both the ORA and La Crosse Freeride, said.