2024 WISCONSIN STATE TRAIL PASSES NOW AVAILABLE

Purchase your 2024 Annual Wisconsin State Trail Pass from the Friends group to help support the trails.

Also, check out our new Friends’ neck buffs!   100% of the proceeds go to the Friends of the Badger and Sugar River Trails. Now available from 10 Junk Miles! 

Volunteers Needed for April 20th 2024 Earth Day Trail Cleanup

The Friends of the Badger and Sugar River State Trails is seeking volunteers to pick up trash along sections of the Badger trail, from Madison, WI to Freeport, IL and the Sugar River Trail. The trails continue to get more usage every year and with this has come more litter along the trails. Consider signing up for our 2024 April 20th Earth Day cleanup by contacting us today! We will have meeting sites at the trailheads in Belleville, Monticello, Albany and Fitchburg beginning at 9 am. We appreciate your commitment to helping to keep the trails clean and safe for all users!

TRAIL USAGE AND UPDATES

The mission of the Friends of the Badger and Sugar River State Trails as a nonprofit organization is to collaborate with the Department of Natural Resources to enhance usage and physical aspects of the trails. Our mission is reflected in the Southwest Savanna Draft Plan proposal to maintain current usage of the Badger and Sugar River State Trails, which includes hiking, biking, cross country skiing as well as snowmobiling and limited winter ATV use on a portion of the BST during appropriate conditions. 

We support the concerns of trail users regarding user conflicts, and collaborate to minimize negative impacts on trail experience, safety, trail modifications, and environmental impacts. While e-Bikes are permitted on the trails (traveling up to speeds of 15 mph), both the Board of the Friends’ Group recognizes that, per DNR regulations, the use of each trail is limited to non-motorized vehicles. Following our 2020 trail user survey, the Friends’ stance moving forward is to speak out in opposition to expanding motorized use of both trails while promoting and advocating for silent sports and trail preservation. 

Round Grove Bridge

According to the DNR, the at grade bypass was completed and signs installed in late December and the trail section is open for use. The newly developed ramps down to the Round Grove road will likely be soft in the spring, but over time should harden.  The alternatives for bridge replacements are being discussed between the WDOT and other partners at this time.

ATV Use

The Friends Group conducted a survey in June 2016 in order to gauge support for any changes to the trails’ current usage, to which over 250 people responded. Here is a summary of the results: Data_All_200612.

The DNR  has released its draft Master Plan for Wisconsin’s Southwest Savannah region to the public. The Friends Group is pleased that the plan proposes to maintain the current usage of the Badger and Sugar River State Trails. With regard to new ATV usage rules in specific communities along the trails, please contact their City Councils let them know your opinions and your concerns.

Stewart Tunnel – March 2024
Governor Evers’ Proposed 2023-25 Budget includes funds for Stewart Tunnel Repairs

The Stewart Tunnel on the Badger Trail south of Belleville remains closed. Last year, the State Legislative Council agreed to fund the restoration of the Stewart Tunnel as proposed in Governor Evers’ 2023-25 budget. Work on the tunnel is scheduled to begin in early 2025.  In the meantime, the DNR has arranged two detour routes around the closed tunnel. The Friends are collaborating with local organizations to organize a publicity campaign to help support the DNR’s efforts to restore the tunnel.  

Follow the link below for an article with information about the Elroy-Sparta tunnels. If you want the experience of going through the longest tunnel on the oldest rail-trail in the US while the Stewart Tunnel is closed, head up north after May 1!

Three old Railroad Tunnels Help Make the Elroy-Sparta Trail One of the State’s Most Popular 

What can you do?

  • Help the Friends start a fundraising campaign to raise money for the repair of the tunnel.
  • Keep your questions coming to us through our website and our Facebook page. We will continue to share your concerns with the DNR.