Volunteers rally to repair trail

A crew of nearly 30 adults and students logged 90 hours in club-led effort to restore Port Washington mountain bike trail washed out by floods last year

MEMBERS OF THE Ozaukee Composite Mountain Bike Team and the Metro Mountain Bikers gathered at the mountain bike trail off Guenther Pond near Lower Lake Park in Port Washington recently. The trail was washed out during last year’s flood, and club members have spent much of their time this year repairing and rerouting the trail. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

When torrential rains caused flooding in Port Washington last year, they also damaged an area that’s largely unseen — the mountain bike trail that runs along the Interurban Trail and west of Upper Lake Park. 

It has taken hours of manual labor — not to mention the efforts of nearly two dozen people, adults and students alike — but the trail is finally back in shape.

Members of the Metro Mountain Bikers, Ozaukee Branch, did much of the work themselves, logging 90 hours of work to clear, clean and restore the paths.

“There was a lot of erosion, and significant parts of the trail were gone,” Eric Hackbarth, director of the mountain bike group, said. “We weren’t able to use it for awhile. And because we weren’t using it for a while, there was a lot of growth back on the trail — things like grasses and weeds and buckthorn. 

“It’s amazing how quickly that stuff grows back.”

City crews, he said, had cleared a lot of debris, including large trees, from the creek but some of it still blocked the trail.

Mountain bike club members cleared it from the trail.

“We went in with ropes and muscle and an occasional chainsaw,” Hackbarth said.

But much of the work was just clearing brush and branches that overgrew the trail, which the club had established only a few years ago.

Because of the erosion caused by the flooding and the torrent of water that came down the creek, Hackbarth said the club had to re-route the trail in places where it was washed out.

“We’re a low-budget group,” he said. “It was a matter of getting people there, which is sometimes hard to do.”

It wasn’t just members of the club who joined forces to rebuild the trail. Hackbarth said members of the Ozaukee Composite Mountain Bike team, which is made up of sixth through 12th grade students, and their parents also volunteered.

It took 90 hours of work by 17 adults and eight to 10 students over the past year to get the dirt trail back into shape, Hackbarth said.

The Composite Mountain Bike team recently gathered at the trailhead off Guenther Pond just north of Inventors Brewpub for a practice.

The trail got rave reviews, Hackbarth said, from a group that understands firsthand how much work it takes to maintain the trail.

One fan of the trail is Jon Crain, Port’s parks, forestry and landscape director, Hackbarth said.

“He has bent over backward in what he’s offered to help us with,” he said. “He’s very excited.”

It’s not just the mountain bike club and team that are enjoying the trail, he said.

“It’s a multiuse trail,” Hackbarth said. “I’ve seen a lot of kids there after school. It’s mountain bikers, hikers, the cross-country team. It’s used in winter for snowshoeing. Fat bikes use the trail.”


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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