Politics blocking bike trail repairs

After torrential rains and disastrous flooding devastated communities along the Elroy-Sparta and 400 Bike Trails, community leaders and state representatives rallied together to find solutions. No one asked if you were Democrat or Republican. Everyone just pitched in where they could.

This summer, area legislators, representing all the people of Monroe and surrounding counties, introduced legislation that would fully fund restoration of the trails so they could be reopened as soon as humanly possible. For some unknown reason, Gov. Tony Evers vetoed funding for trail repairs.

The Western Wisconsin Region secretary director told me the Elroy-Sparta Trail was the Department of Natural Resources’ top priority, but finding and reallocating the resources is still an issue, and they will do their best with the resources they have available.

Last year, some 80,000 biking enthusiasts rode all or parts or our scenic trails. These visitors are the life blood for many local small businesses such as campgrounds, motels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, grocery stores and quickie marts. Life for these businesses is hard enough and some have already closed. The trails provide a huge economic boost to the area.

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All I know is that the governor’s decision to veto trail repair funding will cause yet unknown delays and continued frustration and hardship to an area that is still recovering. We ask Gov. Evers to come to our area to look us in the eye and make a commitment that our trails are a top priority for his administration.

Call the governor’s office at 608-266-1212. Let your voice be heard. Let Gov. Evers know how important our trails are to us and the state. Rural communities matter.

Doug Rogalla

Kendall

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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