Trails Never Sleep

Bright lights, Burley Trailers and and knee socks are all you need to ride the trails on a cool summer night. Photograph by Michael Lemberger

On behalf of the Bike Fed I testified today in favor of a bill in the State Legislature that would keep state trails open 24/7. Currently, according to WDNR rule NR45(2) state trails, which are considered “recreation areas” are technically closed when state parks are closed from 11 PM to 6 AM.

(2) CLOSING HOURS. (a) No person may enter or be within the boundaries of any state park, state recreation area, forest campground, picnic area, beach, headquarters site, amphitheater, ice age center, posted parking areas, Point Beach state forest and specifically designated areas within the Lower Wisconsin state riverway between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and the following 6:00 a.m.


Click this image to read the AB730

The bill, Assembly Bill 730, is being sponsored by Rep. Eric Genrich (D-Green Bay) and Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander). They have secured the support of several coauthors from both parties. The idea originated with the Governor’s Bicycle Coordinating Council of which the Bike Fed is a member.

While it’s getting late in the session (the legislature will adjourn in March) we think we’ve got a fair chance of passing the bill. The Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage should vote on the bill soon and then we hope to have it scheduled for a vote in the full Assembly and then the Senate.

Check the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritag here to find out if your legislator is on it.

You can find your representative and senator here by entering your address.



About Dave Cieslewicz, Director Emeritus

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

2 thoughts on “Trails Never Sleep

  1. I’ve had many wonderful nights riding the Glacial Drumlin trails breaking a law I didn’t even know existed. With modern lights, the trail is a delight. I’ve come upon twin fawns standing like lawn ornaments. I’ve watched the moon turn orange as it set in the west. Once in the early am I felt the temperature go up about ten degrees in a few minutes as a predicted warm front came through. Rode home from Tour of America’s Dairyland races in MKE. Got home from the Schlitz Hill race at 1:45 am, then Saturday from the Downer Classic at 2 am. I’ve certainly gotten more than my annual trail pass fee’s worth of pleasure and, I must add, safety out of my violations. And, I was never the only one out there. PS: Does this law apply to snowmobilers too?

  2. Yes, the trails “never sleep” neither do the people that like to use guns and “accidently kill people”. It is very dangerous to be on a trail at night unless you are in a large group of people. (Safety is no accident).

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