There will be a public meeting held Monday, March 23rd, 6-8 PM at Creekside School to discuss the single track trails at Sheehan Park.  We’ve requested this meeting to make sure that all interested parties are heard.  We’ve run into some unexpected opposition in the form of the High School Cross Country coach and his Booster Club President.  We’ve already met with them and we’re doing everything we possibly can to mitigate those concerns.  We want to be sure we also hear from anyone else in the community who has an interest in the trails.

During this meeting we’ll present our proposal, including maps, to show how the trails would integrate into Sheehan Park, opening under-utilized areas to bikers, runners, walkers and other potential users.  We’ll also show how this will be done with volunteer labor.  The trails will be planned, created and maintained with no cost the the City of Sun Prairie.

We’d like to encourage anyone who supports the idea of single track trails in Sheehan Park to attend this meeting.  The bigger the showing the more support it shows to the City staff, the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission (the group that will make the recommendation to the City Council) and the rest of the community that there is tremendous need and support for the trails.  Please make every effort to attend.  Bring your kids and your neighbors.  These trails will be a huge benefit to our community.


Al Clark

Co-founder- Sun Prairie Bicycling Advocacy Group


Public meeting- Sheehan Trails

2 thoughts on “Public meeting- Sheehan Trails

  • March 23, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Thanks to all those who attended tonight. Our group provided a presentation explaining our goals and how we plan to meet previously mentioned concerns. Lee Igle, Sun Prairie’s Director of Public Works, then opened the floor to those in attendance. We took notes and plan to provide an update in the next couple days.

  • March 24, 2015 at 9:05 am

    I spoke last night but had not expected to, so my thoughts were not as organized as they could have been, so I’d like to summarize them in writing. I’m an almost 12 year resident of Sun Prairie, with three small children, in a neighborhood full of elementary school kids who all ride bicycles, near the Liberty Square development. I’ve also been involved with the Capital Off-Road Pathfinders (also known as CORP – the Dane County chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association) and trail building and maintenance for 7 years. Here are the key points I tried to make:

    • Trail building is as much about land preservation and advocacy and stewardship as it is about the silent support of mountain biking. From removal of invasive species to keeping the land clean, people who manage and use mountain bike trails love and respect natural resources and typically have far more active involvement in the care for these resources than the general public.
    • In Dane County capital off Road Pathfinders have worked successfully and in close partnership with agencies such as the Wisconsin DNR, Dane County Parks, the city of Middleton, and the city of Fitchburg. Cities in Dane County are thinking forward about recreation, healthy alternatives, and activities for our youth, and Sun Prairie should consider following suit.
    • There is a fair amount of misunderstanding and misrepresentation about what cross country mountain biking is. It is not irresponsible, destructive, and is a perfectly valid healthy outdoor recreation activity embraced by a growing number of communities.
    • Trails do not become crowded nor do they typically present any traffic risks (collisions, overuse etc). Trail use is typically shared between different recreational activities and user types with a high degree of mutual respect and success.
    • As a growing family community, Sun Prairie should consider the number of children in the city and that allowing a trail system in the park is of great added value for the community. These trails will be designated largely begin her level in nature and provide a great opportunity for families to experience trail riding within the city; today the only alternative is to drive at least 30 minutes to another city and frequently to trails that are more challenging for children to learn.
    • Many of the concerns I heard seemed to stem from individual desires and interests – ranging from observing wildlife from one’s yard to preserving the running course for the xc running team. While this does not invalidate them, they generally do not take the utilitarian view for the entire community. Further, many of those arguments very significantly mis- or overstate the impact of having a singletrack trail through the woods.

    I urge the city to please consider as objectively as possible the reality of the impact and the benefit to the community overall. It is clearly forward looking to approve these trails, as other Dane County municipalities have. Help us add more value to our city.

    Scot Ellis
    1522 Chadsworth Dr
    Sun Prairie WI

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