Heart of Vilas County bike trail recieves national recognition

Boulder Junction is one of 5 Northwoods communities given National Recreation Trail status.
Boulder Junction is one of 5 Northwoods communities given National Recreation Trail status.(WSAW)
Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 9:48 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Heart of Vilas County Paved Bike Trail System is now officially a National Recreation Trail.

The honor, bestowed by the Secretary of the Interior, is given to public trails that positively represent their regions, support diverse communities, and are considered among the nation’s best trails. They must be well-managed and maintained and a clear asset to their areas.

“The Heart of Vilas County trail system started in 1994 and over the course of 26 years, blossomed into what it is today,” said Theresa Smith, Executive Director of the Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce, one of the Heart of Vilas hubs. “More than fifty miles of paved trails, winding through landscapes formed by glaciers, alongside crystal-clear lakes and connecting five unique communities in Vilas and Iron counties. This honor says in big, bold print what our users have known for years: The Heart of Vilas County trail is one of the best in the country.”

The Heart of Vilas County trail system joins more than 83,000 miles of National Recreation Trails listed in an online, searchable database, easily accessible to outdoor enthusiasts looking for the best spots to explore. In addition to special signage added to the trail touting the new designation, the honor offers up bragging rights for communities, as well.

“To be able to say to visitors, we’re home to this nationally recognized recreation trail, and it can take you all over the county to explore, is really incredible,” said Cindy Burzinski, Director of Vilas County Tourism & Publicity. “Trail users immediately know this is going to be good. These trails are something special. We can’t wait to share the news that Vilas County is home to this Nationally Recognized Trail.”

The Heart of Vilas County system winds through a swath of the beautiful Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, and connects the communities of Boulder Junction, St. Germain, Sayner-Star Lake and Manitowish Waters in Vilas County and Mercer in Iron County, and is one of the longest paved trails in Wisconsin.

“People are exploring the outdoors more than ever, and the Heart of Vilas County is an incredible asset to our region,” Smith said. “There are 20 different parking lots along the way to start your ride, picnic spots, restrooms, even bike repair stations. You can ride right up to a restaurant or stop and shop for a memento. If you’re looking for a trail that has it all, the Heart of Vilas is the place to explore.”

For more information on the Heart of Vilas County Paved Bike Trail system, visit biketheheart.org

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