Connecting Communities and Remembering
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The Gold Star Memorial Trail (GSMT) is an exciting initiative progressing in Dodge County, Wisconsin that will provide an important recreational trail facility for the citizens of Dodge County and its visitors and serve as a memorial to fallen service members of Dodge County. The proposed trail will stretch from the City of Beaver Dam to the City of Mayville, traversing approximately 15 miles. The trail will be for non-motorized use, primarily biking and hiking, and will provide opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter months. The trail connection between the cities of Beaver Dam and Mayville would provide important non-motorized trail links to the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area and its world class Education and Visitor Center (opening in 2015), the City of Horicon, the Wild Goose State Trail and Nitschke Mounds County Park. Most of the trail is projected to be 10’ wide, asphalt paved and located within highway right of ways separated from vehicle travel lanes.
Recent local grass roots support for this project has been the catalyst to jump start this long proposed trail development plan. Citizens, business leaders and Gold Star Families from Mayville to Beaver Dam and surrounding areas have formed a project committee and partnered with Dodge County and the Friends of Dodge County Parks, Inc. to lay the foundation for and carry out the funding, planning, development and future maintenance of the proposed trail.
The trail project is generally broken into 5 phases or segments. These phases can be accomplished in any order or concurrently with one another as funding is available and alignments are finalized. Each phase is locally important on their own. However, when combined, they create a significant regional connection between communities. At this time, Phase I from Mayville to the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center is the main priority due to an established local steering committee and the advanced stage of planning and fundraising efforts. The attached maps provide basic layout and information on each phase.
- About 40-50% of Dodge County residents and potentially hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Horicon Marsh area would have easy access to the trail.
- Improved and safer biking and hiking transportation connectivity between Dodge County communities - reducing automobile trips
- Improved access to healthy lifestyle activities and recreational pursuits for current and future generations
- Enhanced economic development as a regional tourism resource
- Opportunity for partnerships, collaborations and cooperation across local, County, State and Federal governments and agencies, organizations, foundations, businesses, individuals, etc.
- Remembering and honoring those local heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice – since 1991, Dodge County has lost 6 service members from the communities which are to be linked by this trail.