The Town of Rib Mountain is known for its great outdoor culture and variety of recreational opportunities, home to Rib Mountain State Park which contains a large, quartzite rock knob with “ribs” and Granite Peak Ski Area, one of the first ski areas in North America. Residents and visitors can also enjoy water-based activities along the adjacent Wisconsin River, a number of community bicycle and pedestrian trails and the popular Doepke Recreation Area.
Over the years, the greater Wausau region has invested in a growing network of trails, many of which were constructed to fulfill the vision of the Wausau Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, adopted in 2015. As part of this vision, the Town of Rib Mountain realized an opportunity to increase linkage within the network and hired MSA to provide trail design and construction administration services for the creation of a new north-south connector trail. The trail would serve to join together existing trails/ bike routes, boost circulation, and provide a safer route though the area. It would also establish a connection to other areas within the community including the nearby recreation area and state park. MSA worked in close collaboration with Town officials, the Wisconsin DOT, and Janke General Contractors, Inc. on the vision and execution of the trail, with MSA leading both design as well as construction administration and oversight.
The result is the Trillium Trail, which adds over 1 mile of new 10-foot-wide paved trail that connects to existing routes, provides safe, accessible access over USH 51/I39 and links to the Wisconsin River pedestrian bridge — and, ultimately, surrounding communities. The new paved trail extends from Foxglove Road to the south end of Trillium Lane and features paved pathways and boardwalks through wetland areas. The project also provides additional off-street and on-street bicycle and pedestrian accommodations along Trillium Lane up to County N, including widening and paving of road shoulders and the addition of pedestrian crossing beacons. Ultimately, the MPO intends to have a connection between the Trillium Trail and the Mountain-Bay State Trail, the longest rail-trail in Wisconsin (83 miles) and named for the two geological features at either end: Green Bay and Rib Mountain.
The Town of Rib Mountain applied for and received a $492,000 grant from the Wisconsin DOT Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) for construction of the trail, which commenced on May 11, 2020, and was completed on August 21, 2020.
Area residents, project stakeholders, state dignitaries and guests celebrated the long-anticipated trail opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 22, 2020, with a commemorative Trillium Trail kick-off bike ride following.