Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association (RASTA) volunteers have been spending time in the woods this summer. The group continues to work on its five-year plan to improve ski, bike and snowshoe/hike trails located on Oneida County Forest land. Trail work is done with the cooperation and approval of the Oneida County Forestry, Land and Outdoor Recreation Department and Committee.
Earlier this summer, RASTA volunteers took the lead on constructing a 64-foot elevated boardwalk above a wetland on the Cassian Ski Trail west of Rhinelander. For the past several years, an open water portion of the wetland on the Cassian Ski Trail didn’t freeze over until mid or even late January.
“That prevented us from getting grooming equipment past the wetland, closing 14 miles of skiing on one of the most popular ski trails in the area because of the open water.” trail grooming coordinator, Dennis Zielinski said. “The boardwalk will help protect the wetland and allow skiers earlier access to the trail then has been available in recent years.”
The boardwalk was built of treated dimensional timbers, bolted together with stainless steel bolts and supported on iron pipes augured into firm substrate beneath the bog. RASTA supplied the materials and guidance. A crew from McNaughton Camp provided most of the labor. “It turned out well. We couldn’t have done it without them,” said Zielinski.
RASTA is also working to improve and expand the Washburn Silent Sports Area mountain bike trail. Last summer work on about two miles of the South Loop and Kathy’s Loop trail reroutes was completed to make the trail more sustainable and rideable. They also began work on the new Lee’s Loop. It will require several hundred more hours of work using both the mini Bobcat and hand labor. When done it will add more than three miles of intermediate level mountain bike trail to the existing almost ten miles of trail that start at the Perch Lake Park and/or the Washburn Lake Road trail heads.
Looking ahead to winter, RASTA volunteers are putting the finishing touches on the snowshoe/hike trail that was mapped, signed and flagged last year. Volunteers are painting blazes on trees along the trail corresponding to various sections of the trail, like Lake Loop (blue) and Kathy’s Loop (green).