Message from the President

2015 is shaping up as an historic year for the Badger Trail. Not only will we observe the 15th anniversary of the creation of Badger, but we will also see efforts to preserve the rich history of the former rail line, now an important rail-trail.

The city of Fitchburg, where Badger intersects with four other major trails and paths, will be erecting directional signs at the confluence. Fitchburg also will be erecting additional informational historical markers along the trail, which once saw four trains a day steaming up and down the corridor carrying passengers, cattle, farm produce and goods. One marker denoting the Illinois Central depot location at what was once the “city center” of Fitchburg is already up.

The city is planning to continue its annual Agricultural Heritage Bicycle Tour along the Badger. At stops along the way, local historians and farmers join in to explain the history of this important agricultural area and the farming operations that are currently underway. There is a study in process by the city to see if this popular bike tour can be expanded and efforts taken to encourage more cyclist-friendly farm family businesses along the way.

People have noted that things are happening on Badger. I’ll be doing a presentation at the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison on the origins, history and future of the Badger Trail.

It will be a busy year for the Friends group. There will be a ceremony formally opening the new trailhead facility in Monroe. Our Trail Explorer program, a fun way to learn about what lies along the trail, will be expanded. And we have a broader range of bike events coming up. Keep an eye on the web site for dates and times.

I hope to see you out among the thousands of people enjoying our trail. And I urge you to attend some of our Friends group board meetings and events, learn what we’ve accomplished over the past 15 years, and what we plan for the next decade.

Bill Hauda
Friends of the Badger Trail

What's New in 2015

Sunday, October 25th, was a great day for a trail ride and a picnic at the kiosk, located just south of the tunnel, along Badger Trail. Susan, visiting from Florida, was part of this happy group who arrived on two tandems partially visible in the background. The kiosk was built several years ago by the Friends of Badger Trail using funds raised through trail pass sales. The picnic table and wooden bike rack, built with wood provided by the Friends, were constructed by a scout from Monroe as part of his Eagle Scout community project.

Beth, Roman and Leo live in New Glarfus and ride the trail all summer. Many of those trips involve a more 'impromtu' snack break whenever, and wherever, those growing-boys get hungry!

The tandems have been modifed so the boys feet can reach the pedals while riding in the 'stoker' position on the back of the bike. A great concept for riding with young children in the city, too!

A great weekend pre-Halloween ride through the Stewart Tunnel for this group of Sunday riders from Madison . . .

. . . and don't forget your flashlight!!!

Fall is a good time to do some brushing and trail maintenance along the Badger. Here Kevin Swenson, Park Manager based out of Blue Mounds, makes fast work of removing brush along the six mile paved portion of the trail . . . the right tool, for the right job!

After reading one of the new informational signs posted along the Badger, these riders inspect the brushing results along the trail.

There is some GREAT Fall riding coming just around the bend. This group from Madison didn't let the first Packer game or the Ironman stop them from getting out and enjoying the Badger Trail on a BEAUTIFUL Sunday morning.

Click here for all the details of the photo contest.

A BEAUTIFUL night for the Friends of Badger Trail sponsored, 'Blue Moon' ride, led by FOBT Treasurer, Bernie Robertson. The group started at the depot in Monticello, rode to Monroe and back to Monticello. Great weather, a Great moon, Great riding and Great friendship was shared by all. See the photos below.

Hope you can join us on the next FOBT ride, 'The Haunted Mill Ride', Saturday, October 24.

A break in the July humidity meant some great riding conditions. Marsha and Bob were out on the Badger trail on Thursday enjoying a ride from their west side home in Madison down to Purcel Rd and back. They frequently ride the Cap City, Cannonball, SW Commuter and the Glacial Drumlin trails.

The weekend of July 4th was perfect riding weather for getting out on the Badger Trail . . . the parking lots were full!!

Miles on the trail = calories OUT . . . a quick detour off the Badger, and into New Glarus, for these riders = calories IN. The bakery was about the only store open on the 4th!!!

New bridge planking installed by WDNR staff helps keep the ride smoooooth . . .

The Prairie Enthusiast's restoration work is coming to fruition along the Badger, near Milepost 39.

The storms that went through southern Wisconsin on Monday, June 22, caused damage in many areas . . .

. . . including knocking trees down across the Badger trail, north of Purcell Road.

Two of WDNR's finest chainsaw sawyers, Jake and Tyler, made short order of the clean up and by Tuesday the trail had been cleared and the salvage effort was under way.

Jane, from Madison, and Lisa spent a beautiful morning riding the paved part of the Badger trail from Fitchburg to Purcell Road. Lisa is originally from Wisconsin but now lives in the state of Vermont.

Bill, Tom Greg, Tom and Mike, all retired state workers, head south on the Badger to Observatory Drive and points west!

Friends of Badger Trail Treasurer, Bernie, recently led a volunteer effort to re-stain and do some minor maintenance of the Stewart Tunnel kiosk. The Friends constructed the kiosk in 2010.

Donations and percentage of the State Trail passes the Friends group sells paid for the original construction and the re-staining. Thanks to Bernie for heading up this recent maintenance project!

Kieran, on his bike, and Evelyn, in the Burley, took their mom, Kate, out on a brisk morning ride down the Badger leaving right from their home near Basco. They bike every chance they get!

Brad and Brianna, from the DNR office located at New Glarus Woods State Park, inspect the bridge decking and railings on one of the 38 bridges along the southern Badger Trail (crushed limestone section) in preparation for future repair work. Some of the repairs have already been started!

Jarno and Gene were two happy bikers, having just purchased their 2015 Wisconsin Trail passes, and were ready to hit the trail. Remember . . . you need a 2015 Wiscosnin State Trail pass to ride on state trails. Why not buy it from the Badger Trail Friends? A portion of each trail pass the group sells is used to support projects on the Badger Trail.
Go here to buy a trail pass online . . . it's easy!!!

Chris and Dave drove over from the Holy Hill area, in southeastern WI, to spend the day riding the Badger.

Dennis and Dan were spending part of a beautiful morning photographing the 1,200 foot long Stewart Tunnel, one of the more popular attractions along the Badger Trail.

Earth Day 2015: To help celebrate Earth Day, the seniors from Monroe High School used gloves and trash bags provided by the Friends group to clean up along the Badger Trail.
Go here to see all the fun!

May 12: A beautiful evening for the crowd of supporters who attending the Badger Trail Shelter Building dedication in Monroe. The Friends group was a donor to this project.
Go here to see all the festivities!

A brief mid-January warm spell brought out Gaylord, from Madison, to the Badger Trail as he enjoyed a nice ride down to Paoli and back. Lower 30's, no wind and blue sky. Almost like the middle of July!!