DARLINGTON – With the unbelievable amount of rain the area has received in the past year, the county’s recreational community has taken a big hit, leaving many parts of the Tri-County Trail damaged. Recently, the Tri-County Trail Commission was awarded $88,190 in grant money to repair the 64 miles of trail affected.
“This trail provides such an economic impact to the Tri-County area, with 16 million annually from a study done in 2012, that it is essential to do whatever we can to keep it open,” Tri-County Trail Coordinator Tom Jean stated.
Jean applied for a grant through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and their Recreational Trails Program after the torrential rains and flooding from October 2018 and March 2019.
“There was damage to several areas of the trail, from Belmont to Calamine, Calamine to Mineral Point, and various spots from Monroe to Calamine,” Jean said.
There are over 250 miles of trails that run throughout Lafayette, Green and Iowa Counties. One of the worst areas Jean said was next to the wastewater treatment plant just to the southeast of Darlington, and near the McKillip campground northwest of Darlington. Another area that frequently needs repairs is near Airport Road south of Mineral Point.
The flooding in October 2018 resulted in many areas of the trail being washed out and all of the 2018-2019 maintenance funds were used to repair those areas. Then in March 2019, another major flooding event happened, leaving bridges at risk and many miles of trail washed out. Much of the repair work was done immediately following the flooding events but in order to replenish the funds, Jean applied for the grant.
“Our own county forces from the Highway Department, along with the Tri-County ATV Club have been doing the repair work along with local gravel suppliers from Bard Materials and Ivey Construction,” Jean said.
Jean is looking to apply for another grant to repair an area of concern between Ferndale Road and Tibbits Road that has washed out and has become a safety concern.
Recently the trail has reopened from Mineral Point to Monroe. However, the section traveling to Belmont from Calamine still remains closed with the only access to Belmont via the road routes.