MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Dane County Parks will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 14, celebrating the opening of a new shared-use trail connection through Governor Nelson State Park.

The North Mendota Trail is a 12-foot wide paved shared-use trail that connects existing segments on both sides of the state park via an existing underpass under County Highway M. The paved bike trail will help alleviate safety issues for bicyclists along Highway M and help the North Mendota Trail move closer to completion. The gravel base was installed by Dane County Parks operations staff in 2021 and paved in 2022.

“Getting outdoors is good for both the mind and the body. By collaborating with local and county governments, we are able to connect more communities to state park properties,” said DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole. “We also remain committed to keeping Wisconsinites safe on the trail while they’re recreating, commuting, and visiting our cities, towns and state park properties.”

This nearly half-mile of new trail through the park completes a 4-mile segment of the North Mendota Trail that connects the Village of Waunakee and the Town of Westport between the North Mendota Wildlife Area Prairie Unit and the North Mendota Natural Resource Area. Future phases will connect the trail to Mendota County Park and the City of Middleton.

“Dane County has been partnering with the City of Middleton, Town of Westport and the Wisconsin DNR for the past five years and has spent nearly $2.5 million on the planning and development of the North Mendota Trail,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “We are excited to see this regional connection completed in the state park and will continue working with our partners on future phases of this trail.”

The new trail section re-routes bicyclists and other trail users off the busy county highway and through the state park. The trail is open to hiking, biking, and other forms of non-motorized transportation. A trail pass is not required.

Learn more about future plans for the North Mendota Trail here.

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