The Fox Cities has more than a dozen pedestrian and bike routes between Menasha and High Cliff State Park but continuous access between the cities and the state park currently doesn’t exist.
In order to give pedestrians a singular route between the Fox Cities and High Cliff, the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission is looking for ways to fill the gaps in the existing trail network.
“We have segments of the trail system already there, but there are some areas where there are gaps in the bicycle and pedestrian network,” ECWRPC associate planner Kim Biedermann told The Post-Crescent.
ECWRPC is working in partnership with Menasha, Harrison and Sherwood to develop a plan for a new pedestrian and bicycle route that will link the lakeshore communities to the state park.
The High Cliff Connection is looking at a variety of connection options for the route that could include paved trails, sidewalks, bike lanes or boardwalks.
Beginning at Loop the Little Lake Trail in Menasha, the new route aims to connect existing trails and bike lanes throughout Menasha, Harrison and Sherwood to create a scenic and safe route to High Cliff.
Depending on the what routes are chosen, High Cliff Connection could be between 11 and 15 miles.
“We’ve heard from a lot of people that they’re very excited for this and that they thought this should have been done a long time ago,” landscape architect Jody Rader said during the project’s virtual open house on Wednesday.
In addition to creating trail connections, the project could also include adding trail amenities, High Cliff Connection wayfinding signs and revamping existing trails along the route.
Rader works for HKGi, a planning and landscape architecture firm, contracted as consultants for the study and said a main goal of the project is to provide safe routes to the park away from vehicle traffic.
“As much as possible we would like to find ways for people to use the route without having to mix with vehicles,” Rader said.
Following the completion of the feasibility study and community engagement stage, ECWRPC will develop a master plan on what routes the High Cliff Connection could take.
The master plan is expected to wrap up this summer and from there ECWRPC will begin working with local municipalities and private property owners on construction of the trail connectors.
Sophia Voight is a government watchdog reporter for the Appleton Post-Crescent. She can be reached at [email protected] or 920-993-7102.
This article originally appeared on Appleton Post-Crescent: Single pedestrian, bike trail to link High Cliff State Park, Fox Cities