This list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) has been compiled to address common questions regarding the mountain bike trail systems in the Willow River & Kinnickinnic State Parks.
What’s going on?
In 2020, the Wisconsin DNR approved plans to add new mountain bike trails to Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Parks. This multi-year process was based on direct community feedback that more mountain bike trails were needed to address the explosive popularity of mountain biking. 25 miles of new mountain bike trails are being planned at Willow River State Park, and 15 miles of mountain bike trails are being planned at Kinnickinnic State Park.
Who’s leading these efforts?
The Willow Kinni (WIKI) Mountain Bike Club was established by a group of experienced mountain bike trail builders to lead the planning, construction and maintenance of these trail systems. The WIKI Mountain Bike Club is part of the Friends of Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Parks, which is a 501(c)3 organization and works very closely with the Wisconsin DNR.
We’re really excited about these trails, when will they open?
The trails will be opening in stages as they are completed, dependent on volunteer efforts and donations from the community as well as the State of WI. You can check the latest status on our Facebook page at facebook.com/wikimtnbike.
We’d like to help! How can we get involved?
What types of trails are being built?
Mountain biking specific trails are being designed and built. A variety of trails for different skills levels will be available, with beginner trails/loops closest to the parking areas to best introduce new people to the sport. For the safety of everyone involved it is best for hikers and bikers to use their own separate designated trails, snowshoeing will be allowed and encouraged to help groom the winter fatbike trails.
Will biking be allowed on any current trails?
Biking will not be allowed on any existing hiking or skiing trails in the park, only on mountain bike trails. The bike trails will occasionally cross existing trails, but these crossings will be well marked and will be placed in high visibility areas where all trail users can peacefully co-exist and yield to one another. These trails will allow new park visitors in areas of the park that currently see little to no traffic.
Will the new trails affect the cross country skiing trails?
A number of the WIKI volunteers also help maintain and groom the ski trails in these state parks, so the biking trails have been designed to avoid them and minimize trail crossings. Additionally, much of the unwanted foot traffic on existing ski trails will be able to hike the ungroomed mountain bike trails in the winter, and Snowshoeing will be welcome on all winter fatbike trails. We expect these new trails will ultimately reduce existing unwanted foot traffic on the ski trails.
How will the group ensure erosion and other environmental impacts are being properly handled and/or addressed?
These trails are being professionally designed and built according to the latest International Mountain Biking Association standards on sustainable trail design. Our experienced team has designed and built many of the trails in the area, and our trail builders will be the same people maintaining our trails, so the teams have a vested interest in avoiding trail erosion. We will also close trails when they’re too wet to ride, and we will be closed during the freeze / thaw cycles in the Spring and Fall.
Will these trails be open during hunting season? How will this impact existing hunting access and traffic?
A number of the volunteers designing and building these trails are also hunters. We understand the importance of our hunting resources and out of respect for hunters and the safety and enjoyment of everyone the trails will be closed for deer gun seasons as of November 15th as well as for Turkey Season until May 1st.
How are these Trails being funded?
These trails are currently being funded through private donations, matching grants from the WI DNR, and volunteer hours. We are in the early stages of fundraising, and will continue to expand these efforts over time.