ELLSWORTH -- Passionate community members have convened in hopes of creating a trail system in Ellsworth.
On Wednesday, some members of Ellsworth Trails met with the village’s Street and Sidewalk Committee to discuss their ideas, next steps and how to keep the project’s momentum going.
Ellsworth Trails’s main initiative is to improve connectability around the community. They talked about using the trail plan envisioned in Design Ellsworth as a foundation.
‘We’re just kicking around ideas,” Ellsworth Trails member Jolene Wittenberg said. “Nothing has been formally discussed.”
They hope to make multi-use trails available for walking, biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The goal is to start small by building trails in town, then expand out of town and potentially connect to other communities.
“Initially we were thinking it would be great even if we just started with something small,” Wittenberg said.
Ellsworth Trails had its first meeting in early September, which was attended by more than 25 people according to member Becky Beissel. She told the Street and Sidewalk Committee that there is a strong interest and she has been approached by landowners willing to donate easements to the project.
At Wednesday’s meeting, it was suggested that the project’s funding comes from grants and the trails be maintained by volunteers. Ellsworth Trails plans to do more research on other communities’ experiences with building and maintaining a trail system, including possibly taking a “field trip” to other community trails.
“It sounds like a good project to start and let's keep the communication between the village and the committee open,” Street and Sidewalk Committee Chairman Michael Steele.
Ellsworth Trails is in the very early stages. The next meeting is 6 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Ellsworth High School IMC; anyone is welcome to attend. The group will be creating a list of “next steps.” Once complete they will assign tasks to small groups within Ellsworth Trails. Ellsworth Trails will meet the first Wednesday of each month.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story erroneously attributed a quote by Street and Sidewalk Committee Chairman Michael Steele to Village Board President Gerald DeWolfe. The story has been corrected.