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DNR reopens Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail; Wildcat Mountain open July 3

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The granddaddy of all Wisconsin bike trails is now back in business, according to officials with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

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The Elroy-Sparta State Trail was reopened on Wednesday after being closed for two weeks because of flood-related problems.

However, a state park in the same region remains closed.

Park workers joined trail rangers and private contractors to cut through downed trees and limbs on the Elroy-Sparta trail, clear mud slides, repair bridges and restore trail surfaces.

The connected "400" trail between Elroy and Reedsburg remains closed because of significant bridge damage.

"We're thankful the damages have been repaired," said Lenore Schroeder, DNR team leader at Wildcat Mountain State Park.

"We're more thankful no one was hurt or injured, and we are pleased for our area communities that business can resume on the trail," she added.

The Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail runs from Sparta to Elroy and is considered to be the first rail-to-trail in the United States. It has three rock tunnels and five small towns along its 32.5-mile route.

One state park in near the Elroy-Sparta trail remains closed.

Wildcat Mountain State Park remains closed, but Shroeder says the DNR plans to reopen the park on July 3.

"We're still doing trail repairs and picnic area repairs," Schroeder said. "Some of these will continue through the bulk of the summer. But the entrance road will be open July 3 and we're ready for visitors."

The park features high, heavily forested ridges offering spectacular views of Vernon County's Kickapoo River valley.

Wildcat Mountain State Park has 26 miles of hiking trails, 15 miles of horse trails, 30 family camp sites, three group sites and a horse camp with 24 sites, though one of these had to be completely rebuilt and will remain closed until nature finishes greening and stabilizing the repairs, according to Shroeder.

For information about Wisconsin's state parks, including online reservations, visit www.dnr.state.wi.us

Campsites are also available by calling Reserve America at 888.947.2757.

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