Comments to WDNR from Madison Nordic Ski Club on Proposed Trail Changes at Blue Mound State Park
The Madison Nordic Ski Club (MNSC) Board has carefully re-evaluated the proposed plan to construct a new, full sized snowmobile trail through Blue Mound State Park. As a ski club MNSC must advocate for the best ski trails and experiences it can, and since the club’s Board, based in large part on opinions from club members, believes this trail will reduce the quality of XC skiing in the park, the club’s position on this has changed from being neutral to opposing construction of the newly proposed snowmobile trail.
The club truly does not wish to reduce the fun of other winter sportspeople, but when there are uses that conflict as we believe these do, it must favor skiing. This is especially true for one of the few, truly wonderful, classic XC ski venues in southern Wisconsin.
Clearly, the clean air, quiet, and wildlife qualities of the park will be reduced by increased snowmobile traffic across the park, and these are aspects of skiing there that are highly valued by our club members. In addition, the new snowmobile trail will require moving the Pleasure Valley ski trail into less desirable terrain more exposed to wind and sun, thus subject to poorer snow conditions and likely shorter time of use. And while we know that DNR will do all it can to keep all users as safe as possible, allowing snowmobiles to travel at speed through the park will reduce safety for skiers, especially families with children, using the same area.
There may be factors besides ski conflicts that argue against this expanded snowmobile route of convenience through the park, but we leave it to individuals to elaborate on them if they choose to do so. Our concern as the Board of MNSC is to make the highest quality ski trails and experiences possible among our highest priorities. Given the current special–and fragile–nature of this park for very large numbers of skiers, we believe these should be at the top of your winter priorities there, as well.
Blue Mound State Park is one of the most highly sought venues for XC skiing in southern Wisconsin and is both used very extensively and well supported by our club members and other skiers. Thus, the club must regretfully oppose other uses that will reduce its stature as a real ski mecca, including the proposed new snowmobile route.
Thank you for the opportunity to make our carefully chosen position known, and have it considered, as you decide on the best uses of this state park gem.
Madison Nordic Ski Club Board, December 15, 2015
(submitted for the Board by Brock Woods, MNSC Trails Committee Chair, 608-225-5858, 13 Winterset Circle, Madison, WI 53717)