It took nearly five years and $670,000 in donations and grants after the original trail concept was presented, but phase one of the Gold Star Memorial Trail (GSMT) is now open for hiking and biking, from Mayville’s Theiler Park to the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center.
Despite cold weather forcing some delays in the final trail work, finishing touches were completed and barricades were removed around Thanksgiving, Nov. 22, signaling the opening of the trail.
“We are so very thankful to all those that contributed their time, resources and support to this unique community project – a project that provides a significant recreation, transportation and health resource while helping us remember and appreciate those that gave the ultimate sacrifice serving our country and the families they left behind,”
said Bill Ehlenbeck, Dodge County Land Resources and Parks director and Gold Star Memorial Trail project manager. The asphalt paved trail, mostly located within the right-of-way of Hwy 28 is approximately 2.1 miles long and available for non-motorized uses – hiking, biking, cross country skiing and snow shoeing. The trail will not be plowed in winter.
Theiler Park will serve as the main trailhead where a kiosk with memorial, donor and trail information is planned along with installation of trail and trailhead identification signs in spring prior to its grand opening.
The grand opening for first phase of the GSMT is planned to be held on National Trails Day, Saturday, June 1, 2019. This event will provide a recognition of major donors and Gold Star families among other activities.
The ultimate concept of the Gold Star Memorial Trail is to connect the City of Mayville to the City of Beaver Dam through additional phases of the project. Currently, the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center trails do not permit bike riding.
However, walking a bike on the southern Bachhuber Trail through the Horicon Marsh will get bikers to Palmatory Point, which then connects to the City of Horicon Gold Star Memorial Trail bike route.
The Horicon bike route leads to the west end of the City near Whitty Park, which will serve as the connecting point for the next phase of the project from the City of Horicon to the City of Beaver Dam.
The Horicon to Beaver Dam phase of the project is currently in the planning stages. Donations for the Theiler Park kiosk, future trail phases and other trail enhancements can be made to Friends of Dodge County Parks, in care of the Gold Star Memorial Trail, P.O. Box 72, Juneau, WI 53039. A memorial bench program will also be available soon.