Looping the Lake

Posted on Jul 22, 2016

Posted in: Healthy Lifestyle

If you’ve been in downtown Neenah or Menasha lately you may have noticed signs asking you to help “Loop the Lake”.  I myself had seen these signs and shrugged it off, confusing it with the biking event, “Race the Lake” where ambitious cyclists pedal their way around Lake Winnebago.  It wasn’t until I heard a radio ad from a local bank taking donations that I realized they were two very different things.

I’ll give you a quick geography lesson if you’re unfamiliar with the Neenah/Menasha parks and trails.  Fritse Park is tucked away off of Lake Street in Neenah, located just south and east of highways 441/10 and Interstate 41 respectively.  If you’ve never been to Fritse Park I highly recommend it.  The park has picnic areas, a public boat landing as well as a really fun slide built into the hillside (which I usually have to pull my niece and nephew off of when it’s time to leave), but my favorite part of the park is the Trestle Trail.

trestle

It is exactly what it sounds like a trail made from an old train trestle; the Trestle Trail spans Little Lake Butte des Morts ending at the Menasha Locks connecting the Town of Menasha to the city of Menasha.  It is a popular spot attracting 300,000 visitors a year for walking, biking and fishing.  I enjoy walking there while taking in the scenery sometimes spotting wildlife like loons or pelicans.

To the south of Fritse Park is Arrowhead Park in downtown Neenah, another nice spot along the shore to take some time and relax.  It is an easy walk to downtown businesses from the park and vice versa.

The Loop the Lake project will build two additional trestles on and off of Doty Island.  When completed these added trestles will complete the east side of the trail and attach the Trestle Trail to Arrowhead Park to the south which then leads to an existing trail along the west side of the lake circling all the way back to Fritse Park.  Upon completion this project will make a 3.3 mile loop around the lake.  The Loop the Lake project is about more than just adding additional walking paths.  This project will give the public more access to the water, kayak launches and a kayak corral are in the works as well as additional fishing locations.  Personally I’m excited that I’ll be able to access downtown Neenah and Menasha via the trail, some of my favorite businesses are downtown.

Loop-The-Lake-Map

Looking forward I am certain both cities will take advantage of this amazing resource.  I’m envisioning any number of 5K opportunities or maybe even a triathlon!

The project is being funded with a combination of grants, partnership from the municipalities and fundraising.  The fundraising goal of a million dollars had already surpassed $800,00 at last count!  Loop the Lake is slated to begin in the spring of 2017.

 

Personally I am very excited about this project and not just because I live near the trail.  Loop the Lake promotes healthy living in a unique atmosphere that is engaging as well as scenic.  I have to admit that sometimes the treadmill sounds like as much fun as a root canal, but walking across the water, who wouldn’t want to take that in? Plus if you can reward yourself with an occasional beer or a burger mid-trail all the better!

You can check out Neenah and Menasha’s city pages for more information on the Loop the Lake project.