Walkers and bikers in Juneau County may soon have a new trail. Fred Heider, a planner at the North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, shared details for a planned trail in Juneau County with the Committee on Land, Forestry, Parks and Zoning at its meeting Jan. 8.

The trail will be mostly grant funded. Heider said it has been about two years since the grant was applied for. “This is just the start,” Heider said.

There is no plan for the trail will be.

The project has multiple public engagement and comment periods scheduled throughout 2018. “We’ve done this with a couple of other counties before, and this schedule has worked,” Heider said.

Brian Lloyd and Scott Willhorn were appointed to the Ad Hoc committee on the project.

Heider said plans for the trail will actively seek input from the Highway Committee as well. “We should definitely give them a heads up,” Heider said.

Although the trail will be strictly designated for biking and walking initially, Heider said there is potential for opening it up to ATVs in the future. “We will be looking at ATV,” Heider said.

The layout and location of the trail is not yet finalized. Heider said public input will be valued in determining the layout of the trail, and is considering implementing an online application allowing users to map routes online and submit them. “Hopefully that works,” Heider said. “We’ll see on that.”

For some communities, connecting to the nearest Rails-to-Trails conservancy location is a priority for the project. Rails-to-Trails is a group dedicated to converting spaces formerly occupied by rail lines into trails.

“Some communities wanted to connect to their nearest Rail-to-Trails,” Heider said.

Heider said the original Rail-to-Trail project, Elroy to Sparta, is located in Juneau County.

Juneau County Health Officer Barb Theis said the trail is a good fit. “We have priorities in obesity and nutrition,” Theis said. “And definitely having walking paths, having biking paths make it easier for people to exercise.

According to the schedule, the county board will decide on the adoption of the planned trail in December.

You can reach Jake Ekdahl on Twitter @JakeaEkdahl