This past March, the Lincoln County Forestry and Parks Department embarked on the extensive process of updating its five-year recreation plan.
According to department administrator Kevin Kleinschmidt, the plan serves a dual purpose.
“We review and update our recreation plan every five years to meet state of Wisconsin requirements in retaining eligibility for federal and state parks and recreation grants,” the ninth-year department head explains. “The process also continues to give us direction toward meeting the county’s future recreation needs.”
The recreation plan will not only address outdoor recreational needs for county facilities, but also that of the 16 townships in the county.
The cities of Tomahawk and Merrill develop their own plans, according to Kleinschmidt, but will be included in the county plan for reference.
The department has already begun collecting feedback from the public by surveying citizens as well as the many user groups including ATV, horse riding and snowmobile clubs.
“Public input is very important to the success of this plan,” Kleinschmidt adds. “Although we are very early in the process, we have already started to contact town and city officials to assess the needs of their facilities. We will continue this process through the rest of the month. Based on the information we receive from the public, we will develop goals and objectives as guidelines to formulate our updated five-year plan.
“We hope to have that process completed by mid-summer,” he added. “From those goals and objectives, we will work to create recreational opportunities and improve our existing county recreational system over the next five years.”
By late summer, Kleinschmidt hopes to have a rough draft of the plan in place and present it to the public in the form of open-house events.
The plan’s final draft is estimated to be completed by this fall, at which point it will be presented to the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors for approval.
“If all goes as planned, we hope to have the final draft ready for DNR approval by the end of the year so we can implement the updated plan by January of 2017,” Kleinschmidt adds.
Residents are encouraged to help plan outdoor recreation in Lincoln County by taking the online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LincolnForestORP by April 30.