Community Benefits

Communities Benefit From Bike Use and Good Recreational Trail Planning

Local Business Owners Say:

The Boulder Junction Story

Charlie Spencer says he was unenthusiastic when work started on a short bike trail in Boulder Junction in the 1990's. Today Charlie is the town chairman in Boulder Junction and a 40 mile trail extends all the way from his town down through Sayner to St. Germain, and west to Manitowish Waters. Campsites at Crystal Lake State Campground have to be reserved way in advance. Enthusiasm is a mild way to describe how Charlie feels about the bike trail.

"Years back when this whole effort started there were a lot of business owner naysayers that thought the whole idea was a waste of time and money," he explains. "They even referred to the bikers as 'sprocket fairies' and said that they were all bums that never spent any money on anything except an occasional bottle of water. All I can say is they were wrong. We have done some anecdotal research and it shows us that they DO spend a lot of money while in the area. Motel rooms, meals, gas for their cars, bikes and accessories………on and on. The Coon family even built a 'silent sports' shop in Boulder Junction that has now expanded to a second location in Arbor Vitae. Steve Peterson (superintendent of the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest) says he sees more bikes and kayaks in the state campgrounds now than boats. I run a small resort and the two questions I get asked by almost everybody is first… 'Do you have Wifi' and second … 'How far are you away from the bike trails?'"

Boulder Bear Motor Lodge in Boulder Junction
Moondeer & Friends Gallery in Boulder Junction
Forest Lake Country Store in Land O' Lakes

Useful Studies

Formal studies confirm the $$$ and benefits of investing in a bicycling infrastructure

These studies listed here provide solid statistics and analysis that supports why Town Chairman Charlie Spencer feels so good about the value of the trails around Boulder Junction.

Good recreational and economic planning maximizes the use and continued appeal of trail infrastructure. Experts speak about good recreational planning in the Wisconsin SCORP Report - 2011-2016. The Cheese Country Trail case study shows the important usage realities of motorized trail usage and how that drives off non-motorized uses on the same trail.

A Oct. 2006 - Sept. 2007 study of trail users on the Gandy Dancer Trail, a bike-ped-snowmobile trail in Polk and Burnett counties. Some key findings: 50,000 individual users a year, a $4.4 million annual economic impact. (No formal studies have been done of Vilas County bike-ped trails, though one recent estimate is that 70,000 bicyclers and walkers use the Heart of Vilas trails every year.)

Download the study here

A 2010 study out of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison. Some key findings: Half the people in Wisconsin ride bikes for recreation (that’s about 3 million people), and the direct annual economic impact of bicycle recreation and tourism in Wisconsin is estimated to be $924,211,000.

Download the Study Here

Smart county and municipal rec planners around the state use the findings of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoors Recreation Plan to get the most out of every inch of their jurisdiction's public outdoors spaces. The table below is about compatibility and complementarity, considerations that are particularly pertinent and important to Vilas County's recent initiative to add recreational opportunities for a wider range of uses. (On Table 4-2, highly competitive or antagonistic combinations of use are highlighted in red, moderately to mildly competitive combinations are in yellow, and complementary use combinations are green.)

Download the Study Here

This very useful study focuses on the market-based benefits of the Cheese Country trail. The basic reality of these types of multi-use trails is that they are motorized trails. As this report notes on pp. 8 & 9, "motorized uses tend to exhibit asymmetrical competition with non-motorized uses…Thus when combined, motorized uses tend to dominate and drive off non-motorized uses on the same trail." The graph below is from page 26 of this study. People who want a non-motorized trail experience just aren't attracted to motorized, multi-use trails. Less than one percent of those using the Cheese Country Trail each year are riding bicycles.

Download the Study Here