Naze: Ahnapee State Trail one of county’s gems
Whether you like to bike, hike, run, ride a horse, snowmobile, cross-country ski or snowshoe, Kewaunee County’s Ahnapee State Trail offers an opportunity to escape the asphalt and soak up some nature.
For nearly 30 years, the Friends of the Ahnapee State Trail have been doing the behind the scenes work to raise money and awareness of this recreational jewel.
Through monetary donations, labor and materials, much of the work to build, promote and maintain the trail has largely come about because of a dedicated volunteer group working in conjunction with the Kewaunee County Parks Department.
Whether smoothing the trail surface, adding fences and mile markers or raising funds for a trailhead building, the “Friends” are hands-on — and require volunteer and monetary support.
Memberships are available at levels from $15 to $100, including a $25 family special. See all the options at http://www.ahnapeestatetrail.com/friends/join-us/.
Meanwhile, runners, volunteers and business sponsors are all needed for the group’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the Ahnapee Summer Solstice 50 June 18. The 50-mile relay run starts in Sturgeon Bay and ends with a party, food and awards at the Luxemburg Fairgrounds. Get all the details at http://www.ahnapeestatetrail.com/ahnapee-relay-run/.
Most of the trail is on a former railroad bed — the Ahnapee and Western Railway right of way.
The “rails to trails” conversion came in sections, starting in the mid-1970s. However, it wasn’t until the Friends of the Ahnapee State Trail was formed in 1988 that the trail had a solid advocate for promotion, development and maintenance.
The DNR website lists the trail as 48 miles long, about 30 in Kewaunee County. It says the trail winds south from Sturgeon Bay “along the beautiful Ahnapee and Kewaunee rivers to Algoma, Casco, Luxemburg and Kewaunee, passing by a mixture of evergreen glades, farmland, prairies and wooded areas teeming with wildlife and native wildflowers.”
Near Sunset Road in Kewaunee County, the trail branches off in three directions, west to Luxemburg, northeast towards Algoma and southeast towards the city of Kewaunee.
The level grade and limestone surface make this trail suitable for bicyclists, walkers and joggers. Bikers do not need a trail pass while using the trail. Due to the possibility of hoof marks in the trail surface, wider-tire bicycles are recommended.
Pet owners are asked to have pets on a leash, 8 feet or shorter, at all times, and must pick up after their pets.
The Ice Age Trail follows two sections of the Ahnapee State Trail corridor, for about 17 miles from downtown Sturgeon Bay to Algoma and for another 10 miles from the city of Kewaunee through the C.D. Besadny Fish and Wildlife Area to County A.
Horses are allowed on the trail from April 15 to Nov. 15. Riders are asked to limit use after a heavy rainfall to reduce the amount of damage to the trail, and are asked to pick up after their horses.
Learn more about the Ahnapee State Trail at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/ahnapee/.
Fish are biting
Rainbow trout action has heated up on Lake Michigan, and some Chinook salmon and lake trout are also being caught. Best depths change frequently, but fish have been hooked from 2 to 10 miles or more off shore.
On Green Bay, smallmouths by day and walleyes at night are both solid, and Kewaunee County’s inland lakes are producing bass and panfish in the warming shallows.
Smallmouth bass are still catch and release only on inland waters and Lake Michigan tributaries north of Hwy. 29, but yellow perch are again fair game on the bay after a two-month closure.
Be sure to pick up a copy of the 2016-2017 hook and line and inland trout regulations pamphlets to get up to speed on all the various seasons and bag limits.
Kevin Naze is a freelance outdoors writer. Email him at [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Naze: Ahnapee State Trail one of county’s gems