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After overcoming some initial difficulty, ORA Trails in La Crosse is working with the City of La Crosse, including the Parks Department, to transform the public land around the iconic Grandad Bluff lookout in to a new multi-use trail system with increased access to residents.

The area being transformed is currently laden with invasive species and rogue trails that routinely wash out when it rains. The new Grandad Bluff Trails are professionally designed sustainable trails that will protect the area from washouts and ensuing environmental damage. The shared-use trails will lead well intentioned explorers away from sensitive areas that are home to rare species that need our protection.

The civil suit against the City of La Crosse which delayed building of the new trail system for two weeks has been withdrawn by the group that started the action.  ORA Trails said work would begin immediately on trails that will make the 160-acre park more accessible to the public with modern trail design that will positively impact the park and help eliminate erosion problems from rogue trails. 

Rock Solid, one of the trail building companies that will help build the trails, and its owner Aaron Rogers, have a crew and equipment in La Crosse and are ready to begin work.  ORA Trails had temporarily asked Rogers to delay starting the project at the judge’s urging.  Rock Solid is one of the best known and well-respected trail building organizations in the country, as is IMBA, the group that designed the trail system. Recently they were in Wisconsin at Trek Bikes headquarters to complete some work, and they are also responsible for the new downhill trails in La Crosse that riders have been raving about.

ORA Trails has been leading a two-year all-volunteer effort to clean trash from the park and graffiti from the bluff walls.  Trail designers also took care to lead, by thoughtful trail design, well intentioned explorers away from environmentally sensitive areas and keep hikers and bikers on the provided trails. 

We are grateful for the support we received from Jay Odegaard, La Crosse Park Director, and Mayor Tim Kabot.  Our community understands now more than ever, the importance of being healthy and active and they understand the health benefits families enjoy being in the woods with their kids.  These trails are a showcase for a healthy lifestyle.”   

Kurt Schroeder, ORA President

ORA Trails had solicited nearly $5,000 in contributions from a Go Fund Me campaign to help defend themselves from court action.  The contributions ranged from $5 to $500 and averaged $50 per donor.   ORA Trails promised money not used for the defense will go toward future trail projects.  ORA Trails, be it building trails in the dirt, or be it defending themselves in a court action, is primarily the efforts of a passionate all-volunteer group.

Other recent projects that ORA Trails has completed include a reconstruction of Lueth Park, which is home to one of the only paved pump tracks in the midwest.

Equality matters, and access should be available to everyone! ORA Trails is proud to be making progress toward giving everyone the opportunity to access the benefits of nature.