The mission of the Great Headwaters Trails Foundation, Inc. is to develop and support a system of family-friendly community bicycling and walking trails connecting the towns and serving the residents of and visitors to eastern Vilas County.
- That by the end of the decade (2020), the towns in eastern Vilas County will be connected by a family-friendly bicycling and walking trail network known as the Great Headwaters Trail system.
- That the Great Headwaters Trail system will be part of an extensive network of family-friendly, off-road bicycling and walking trails stretching across Vilas County from Eagle River to Land O’ Lakes and from Phelps to Manitowish Waters. The countywide network will expand and enhance Vilas County’s reputation as a premier destination for visitors, and as an attractive and healthy place to live.
- That Great Headwaters Trails will provide ongoing support for promotion, development and enhancement of the Great Headwaters Trail system.
- Low impact, high value use of Vilas County’s natural resources.
- Convenient and safe public access to those resources.
- Providing non-motorized alternatives for transportation, recreation, personal health and well-being
- Enhancing the area’s economic infrastructure and partnering with municipalities, businesses, snowmobile clubs and other organizations to develop such infrastructure and to maximize the gains to be made from that infrastructure
About the Public-Private Partnership
The concept of a major family-friendly, bicycling and walking trail system for all of eastern Vilas County was the result of collaborative thinking by local volunteers and Vilas County’s Forestry Dept. in 2010. As a result, the Great Headwaters Trails Foundation was incorporated that summer.
Since then, Great Headwaters Trails has reached out to bring other necessary partners into the trail development picture. As a 501(c)(3) with talented volunteers and a passion for building bike-ped infrastructure, Great Headwaters Trails brings fundraising, route planning, trail design and marketing services to the partnership.
Within its mission of building over 40 miles of bicycling and walking trails, it is committed to working with Vilas County and all local municipalities, trail organizations, businesses and other service and business groups in order to speed development of a bicycling and walking trail system that will be highly beneficial to the entire community.
A completed bike path in Eagle River – The Connector – and the first segment of the 40-mile system – The Conover-Phelps Trail – are the current fruits of this partnership.
We actively seek additional partners in this endeavor. Join us – contact us at GHTrails@gmail.com or 715-617-0080.
Board of Directors
Jeff Currie – president (2020)
A resident of the Town of Cloverland, Jeff is a retired high school journalism and English teacher.
Gary Meister – vice-president (2020)
Gary lives in Sugar Camp, just a few yards down Aldridge Lake Rd from the Eagle River border.
Chris Brunner – treasurer (2018)
Chris lives on Spirit Lake in the Town of Washington. She is a retired forester who now enjoys biking, kayaking, hiking, and camping. Chris is currently treasurer for Great Headwaters Trails.
Mike Robillard – secretary (2019)
Mike is the head of Great Headwaters Trails’s project implementation team, and property manager for Tara Lila, LLC. He is also an officer of the Three Eagle Trail Foundation.
Rollie Alger - Board Member (2019)
A resident of Phelps, Rollie is on the Town of Phelps’ Trail Committee and is the project manager for the Conover-Phelps Trail.
Brian Blank - Board Member (2018)
Brian and his wife, Diane, live on Manuel Lake in Phelps. Brian is part of the Conover-Phelps Trail Design and Construction Team.
Lauri Gerlach - Board Member (2019)
Lauri lives in Sayner near the Heart of Vilas Bike/Hike Trail. As an outdoor enthusiast, she’s aware of the impact quality bicycling and walking trails provide to the local tourism economy.
Barbara Helmick - Board Member (2020)
Barbara lives in the Town of Washington. A retired journalist, Barbara moved to Vilas County after the visiting the area for several years because of the many year-round outdoor recreational opportunities. She enjoys bicycling, kayaking and snowshoeing. Barbara is volunteer coordinator for Great Headwaters Trails.
Debbie Magee - Board Member (2020)