A bill introduced by a biennial group of legislators would raise the status of two Wisconsin corridors and potentially increase funding to maintain and expand them. The legislation seeks to designate the national scenic trails of the Ice Age and North Country as units of the National Park Service, as well as the New England National Scenic Trail.
The United States Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, are sponsoring the legislation. The pair introduced the last bill session, but never made it possible to vote.
Both corridors are currently administered by the National Park Service in conjunction with other local, state and federal partners. However, Baldwin told Wisconsin Public Radio Radio that they do not have full status. She said that the National Ice Age National Scenic Trail and the National North of Ireland Scenic Trail would be on a par with others funded in the National Park Service.
"The federal government added greatly to the expansion of the corridors," Baldwin said. "It is always struggling to ensure that we can complete a trail like the Ice Age Trail before the land is developed."
Kevin Thusius, director of land conservation with the Ice Age Trail Alliance, said the bill would enable them to access funding that is only available for footpaths designated as a unit of the National Park Service.
"The National Park Alliance and its partners at the National Park Service and other partners are working to close the gaps in the Ice Age National Scenic Corridor by acquiring additional properties or acquiring additional footpath rights between existing parts of the land. , "Thusus said.
He also said that 670 miles of footpaths are open for use. When completed, the track is expected to extend more than 1,200 miles.
"The Ice Age Trail is a beautiful part of Wisconsin's natural wonders and contributes significantly to the economy of our state. According to a study by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the trip has an annual economic impact of $ 113 million, drawing around 1.2 million. T visitors, "Sensenbrenner said in a newsletter.
View from Harwood Lakes section of the Ice Age Trail in Chippewa County. Photograph courtesy of Cameron
The North Country Scenic Route crosses seven states from New York to North Dakota. Peter Nordgren works voluntarily with Brule-St. Croix Chapter of the North Countries Association. He said the bill, if passed, could help extend the track in northern Wisconsin.
"If we had the unit designation, we promise a superintendent and that would be a leader conducive to promoting the track," Nordgren said. "This is the longest sight track in the United States, and there is a lot of work to be done on it."
The North Scenic National Trail is expected to extend 4,600 miles when completed.
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