Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Important Notices

Deer Season Opens November 21

Wisconsin firearms deer hunting season opens Nov. 21 and runs through Nov. 29.
Trail riding during this time is not advised.
Night riding is O.K.

Ojibwe Trail Logging

Due to active logging, the Ojibwe Trail is closed between
C 29 and C 28. For your safety, please do not ride this section until logging work has concluded.

You may bypass this area and rejoin the trail by using Timber Trail Road and the Birkie Trail.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

October is Busy Month for CAMBA

The season may be nearing an end, but that doesn't mean CAMBA activities slow down. The month of October has seen continued trail work, special projects, meetings and planning. Here are a few highlights.

Successful Fall Work Day

Our fall work day this year focused on the Patsy Lake Trail in Namakagon. A relocation of a lengthy segment of the trail is underway to site the trail on easy-riding singletrack and remove it from segments of existing trail that have been or will be affected by logging and possible ATV use.

About 20 people turned out on the brisk Oct. 10 morning and were greeted by a light topping of snow. We worked until about 12:30 digging a winding trail through a pine forest east of FR 203. In only about 3 ½ hours, an amazing 1,310 feet of trail was completed.

This is a very pleasant riding piece of trail and a great addition to the cluster. It is quite easy, offering a nice balance to some of the more difficult trail in the Namakagon Cluster. Thanks to everyone who came out and to John Leighton for prepping the trail.

Makwa Trail Dedication

On Saturday afternoon following our morning trail work, a brief ceremony was held at the OO Trailhead to formally dedicate the recently completed Makwa Trail. A ribbon cutting ceremony (flagging tape as ribbon and loppers to do the cutting) included brief comments by CAMBA president Darren October Weekend 2009 014Winchester, Makwa project leader Steve Morales, and CAMBA executive director Ron Bergin. Winchester reflected on the hours, days and weeks of walking the woods flagging the route. Morales related his experiences working on the trail and expressed his gratitude to CAMBA for being able to realize his dream. Bergin thanked the county forestry department for the privilege of being able to build this trail on the county forest.

Once the ribbon was cut, CAMBA board member Harry Spehar headed down the trail for the "official" inaugural ride on the Makwa.

October Weekend 2009 015

CAMBA Annual Meeting

The CAMBA Annual Meeting was held on Friday evening, October 9 at the Rivers Eatery in Cable. A robust turnout enjoyed the evening's reports and discussion. Darren Winchester welcomed the crowd and introduced the board of directors and candidates for the two open seats on the board. Ron Bergin highlighted the many positive accomplishments during the 2009 season - perhaps one of the most successful on many levels, in the history of the organization. Steve Morales and John Leighton reported on the significant amount of trail development that they have overseen in Hayward/Seeley and Namakagon.

Two new directors, Matt Dale and Stan Walczak, were elected. CAMBA welcomes Matt and Stan to the board and looks forward to your insights and guidance in helping direct CAMBA's efforts in the coming years.

Makwa Boardwalk Completed

One of the final pieces of the Makwa Trail was completed on October 25. A 100 foot boardwalk, 32 inches wide, was constructed to bridge a low lying and usually wet area on the Makwa Trail about 1/4 mile east of Gravel Pit Road. The trail had been routed around the wet area, which due the continuing drought, has been fairly dry this year. However, in normal years this area is wet and impassable.

The boardwalk was constructed under the direction of volunteer Mike Haag, who helped pre-fab the components and deliver them to the site with the help of several other volunteers. From Thursday through Sunday, crews cut and assembled the beams, delivered the material and placed the footings. The final assembly took about 4 1/2 hours.

Steve Morales and a volunteer crew built an additional 300 feet of trail to connect to the boardwalk. The existing bypass will continue to be a part of the trail, so riders will have the option of riding the bridge, or staying on the dirt.


This project has been on the "to do" list since last fall, and it has finally been completed. It's a handsome structure and adds a nice touch of character to the Makwa Trail. John Saunders, who helped coordinate the logistics of the project, sends a special thanks to all of the volunteers who pitched in and helped CAMBA finish yet one more great trail project.

Planning, Planning

As one season concludes, the next one begins. Discussions are already underway in the CAMBA Trail and Festival Committees. Both committees are looking at the past season, analyzing our successes and shortcomings, and making plans for 2010. If you have any thoughts, suggestions or ideas related to either of these topics (or any other topic), feel free to email CAMBA with your input.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ADVOCACY ALERT!: Comments Sought on Stewardship Land Uses

The Wisconsin mountain biking community needs your assistance offering input on a proposed rule that may have an impact on trail development.

The rule pertains to state lands purchased with funds derived from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. When this program was created it stipulated that lands purchased with these funds be open to public access and specified: hunting, trapping, fishing, hiking and cross country skiing. These uses were the designated “nature-based outdoor activities” (NBOA) by the DNR. Bicycling or mountain biking were not included in this original list and therefore are not technically considered permissible uses.

As this new rule (NR 52) is being considered you are encouraged to submit comments requesting that these five NBOAs be expanded to include bicycling.

The current rule has already presented issues for trail development in the LaCrosse area. In our area there are also potential impacts: Land within the Mt. Ashwabay area, the Norse Sugarbush, is a State Natural Area purchased with Knowles-Nelson Stewardship funds. Because of this, trail development is restricted in that area. Additionally, the Lake Helene property recently purchased by the state was similarly funded. Should trail development ever be considered in that area, this could be an obstacle.
Of course there may be other properties in the future where this may be an issue.

The following information/talking points may be used to offer comments on the proposed rule, Chapter NR 52, Wisconsin Administrative Code:

Bicycling should be allowed on Knowles-Nelson Stewardship lands as one of the nature based activities listed as acceptable uses.

• Mountain biking was not even in existence when the NBOAs were originally decided.
• Research has proven that mountain bike riding has a similar impact as hiking when done on purpose-built, sustainable mountain bike trails. (International Mountain Bicycling Association research)
• Off road cycling’s popularity, economic impact and sustainable nature are proven - the CAMBA trails in the Cable-Hayward area are an excellent example.

• Mountain bike riding is compatible with most other forms of trail based recreation.
• The use of purpose-built, sustainably designed and constructed mountain bike trails insures protection of surrounding land and watersheds.
• Management of stewardship lands by local partner conservation organizations is the recommended model, i.e. local non-profit should be the decision-making steward for these lands.

Please direct your comments to:
Mr. Douglas Haag
Bureau of Facilities and Lands
P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 5370

It would also be a good idea to send the same comments to your state senator and assembly-person.

Comments need to be submitted by Friday, Oct. 30. Thank you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Successful Work Day



The day started a bit snowy, but 20 workers dug 1310 feet of trail in 3 1/2 hours. Thanks to you all.

John Leighton

Friday, September 25, 2009

Patsy Lake Singletrack Progresses

A new section of single track is now open for riding from N 15 to FR 203. This trail is easy riding and designed to be very scenic. Here pictured are Stan Walczak and Chuck Wolske working on the trail. CAMBA work day, October 10, will extend this trail to N 17.

John Leighton

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Satisfied Customers

I want to express how delighted I am at the new CAMBA singletrack trails. The whole system is incredible, but the new trails from Hayward to County OO are superb and I plan to introduce anyone I can convince to get on a mountain bike to ride with us on these trails. So far, those we have brought along with us are equally as impressed and it’s now a challenge to get them to ride on anything but single track!

We live in Champlin, Minnesota (a NW suburb of Minneapolis) and have a cabin ~1.5 miles from the County OO trailhead. It’s so exciting to have these easily accessible trails that go on for miles and give us lots of options to ride, hike, or snowshoe.

We are very active members of Minnesota Rovers Outdoors Club and are introducing our friends and fellow club members to mountain biking in the Twin Cities as well as on the CAMBA trails.

Thank you so much for these trails, not only is it impressive how fun they are, but how quickly they were put in place. I’m also thankful that there are varying levels of difficulty so that we can introduce new or more cautious riders as well as show our more aggressive friends these beautiful trails!

Jodi & Scott Stammer

Monday, September 14, 2009

Patsy Lake Bridge

Many thanks to Dave Wiltrout for underpinning the Patsy Lake Bridge. We will get several more years of service from it.
The original bridge had been in service since the very beginning of the CAMBA trail system in 1993. After all those years of use and at least once incident of an ATV riding one-wheel on the bridge, one below, the bridge had taken on the look of an old sway back farm horse. Dave Wiltrout, a retired veterinarian, is one of several volunteers who have been helping build new singletrack in the Namakagon Cluster this summer. Our other ace volunteers, John Leighton and Stan Waczack, have made some other needed improvements to the approach and exit from the bridge, removing several large roots, which intimidated some and could easily trip up less experienced riders.

[caption id="attachment_68" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Dave Wiltrout on the Patsy Lake Bridge."]Dave Wiltrout on the Patsy Lake Bridge.[/caption]

Friday, September 11, 2009


The Makwa Trail from Mosquito Brook to the Birkie Cabin at Hwy OO is finished. We tamped the golden shovel of dirt at the foot of the picnic table hill on Thursday, Sept 3. What seemed an optimistic dream four years ago is now a reality. You can now traverse the woods on bike or on foot via 21 miles of sweet single track between Hatchery Creek Park in Hayward and OO. Through the fall there will be some volunteer work tweaking the details on this summer's 7.8 new miles of Makwa from Gravel Pit to 00. But the trail is all open and ready to ride. Volunteer opportunities will be on Monday evenings at 00 at 5:30, weather permitting.

Thank you, one and all, who helped on this epic CAMBA project. We employed 32 people during the four summers. The volunteer hours numbered in the thousands. (Which means we lost count, but we're sure there were at least that many.) The project was funded entirely by CAMBA through grants and contributions from enlightened business owners, wise governmental bodies, interested groups and organizations, cycling enthusiasts and generous CAMBA members. (If I am leaving anyone out, my apologies and Thank You.) Contributions are still needed, both to replenish the CAMBA coffers for this trail and to fund more trails in the planning stages. Send your dollars to CAMBA, P.O. Box 141, Cable, Wi. 54821.

Access the Makwa at the Birkie rest cabin at OO 3 miles east of Seeley, at Gravel Pit Rd. east of Hayward (100 yards south of the Birkie Trail/Gravel Pit Rd. crossing), and at the Birkie parking lot at Mosquito Brook Rd. The Makwa is a two way trail except for a 3/4 mile loop that starts and ends at the Birkie Cabin on OO. Hatchery Creek Trail extends from Mosquito Brook Rd. to Hatchery Creek Park two miles east of Hayward off Hwy 77 and is a one way trail with loops at both trailheads. Both trails are challenging but non-technical, meaning no major obstacles to ride over, and suitable for riders of all abilities. The easiest section, for beginning off road riders, runs south from Gravel Pit Rd. The most difficult sections are from Hatchery Creek to Mosquito Brook and south from OO. The loop at OO is rated easy to moderate.

The trails are entirely on Sawyer County Forest land. Expressing your appreciation for the use of the forest to the Sawyer County Forestry Committee would help build our rapport with a governmental body whose support is crucial to our goal of building cycling opportunities in the area. Email the county forester and the chairman of the committee and tell them where you are from and what the trail means to you. By the nature of our activity, we are invisible to them unless we make the effort to let them know we exist. The more aware of us they are, the more willing they are to work with us in the future on new trails, protecting our existing trails from logging and motorized use, etc. Here are the links: greg.peterson@sawyercountygov.org and james.bassett@sawyercountygov.org.

Ride on, Steve Morales for CAMBA

Monday, August 31, 2009

More Fun on the CAMBA Trails

Beth Gauper has written about her travels throughout the Midwest for the past 15 years. Check out her account of her experiences on the CAMBA trails on her blog: www.midwestweekends.com .

Friday, August 28, 2009

All the Way from London!

Recently three of us drove from London, Ontario to ride the trails in your area. London is approximately a 12-13 hour drive. During our 4 day stay we rode the Seeley cluster (Makwa trail), Cable cluster (Ojibwa trail) and the Namakagon cluster (Rock Lake trail - complete). What we rode as incredible and the amount of work is very impressive. Some of the best riding we have done in a 12/13 hour drive zone from our location. During our rides we were fortunate to talk to crews working on the trails and clearing some of the downed trees, great people.

Everyone we met during our rides on the trails, off the trails, anywhere were very friendly. Recommendations from the trail crews included the Angry Minnow Pub, The Rivers Eatery and The New Moon bike shop, all of which we visited and supported. The Angry Minnow saw slightly more support.

We plan on visiting again in the future and will pass on this great ride to those in this area. Keep up the great work and thanks for the fantastic trails.


Gary Cambridge, Mark Wilkinson, Dave Harrison

Monday, August 17, 2009


It's mid August, and a long held vision of riding single track from Hayward to the Birkebeiner warming hut east of Seeley, is about to become a reality. Less than half a mile of tread remains to be dug. Two crews are working toward each other. The Golden Shovel Full of Dirt (spikes are a bad idea on a bike trail) should be tamped into place by the end of August. CAMBA's paid summer crew of 9 college and high school students, supervised by volunteer Steve Morales, have worked hard all summer pushing the trail north from Gravel Pit Rd., where the Makwa terminated at the end last summer's building season. A crew of volunteers from the Seeley area, supervised by Jeff Schmid, began working south in June. The new section of the Makwa trail will add a total of 7 to 8 miles of sweet new single track to the CAMBA system. The new trail includes a 3/4 mile loop starting and ending at the OO warming hut. The loop is signed for one way traffic only, and it intersects the two way Makwa at the southernmost point on the loop. The new loop was completed in July.

The Makwa was designed to be a great ride for all abilities. The rocks and roots have been removed to smooth the tread and enhance the flow. The climbs, descents and corners allow riders to maintain momentum. The trail has been open to riders all summer as the construction has continued, and from the positive comments the trail crews have been receiving from riders, the goal of creating an exciting, sweet ride has been achieved. The trail has been signed by volunteer John Saunders as the construction has progressed. The Makwa can be accessed at the Mosquito Brook Rd. Trailhead, the OO Trailhead, and several points between. It's a beautiful, sinuous ribbon tying the trails in the Hayward Cluster to those in the Seeley Cluster. In the Hayward Cluster, access it by vehicle on the Loop Descent Trail just south of H8, or at Gravel Pit Rd. just south of the Birkie Trail. Access it by bike at two points where it intersects the Bar Stool loop. In the Seeley Cluster, access the Makwa where it crosses the snowmobile trail south of OO. The Makwa crosses the Birkie Trail eight times as it winds through the county forest between the two trailheads, creating multiple options for riders to create their own loops.

Beginning the scouting process on snowshoes in the middle of last winter, Steve Morales and Darren Winchester took into account trail sustainability, timber type, and rideability in locating the route. It took a month of early spring hiking before they were sure the trail would meet the project goals. A .4 mile section of Birkie Trail on either side of the Birkie 28K marker will serve as a temporary piece of the Makwa until a suitable route off the Birkie can be located after the leaves drop in October. The entire 7.2 miles of trail was brushed and chainsawed by volunteers as the digging began in May. The loop at OO and the first mile to the south was dug by a mini-excavator operator CAMBA hired, then was finished by hand. Volunteer Butch Grainger used a CAMBA rented excavator to dig about 3 miles north from Gravel Pit Rd. This section was also finished by hand. The roughly 3 miles of trail between was dug and finished entirely by hand by the CAMBA crews.

The addition of the Makwa to the single track already built in the Hayward Cluster brings the total distance of trails to well over 20 miles. The Makwa alone will total almost 13 miles, making it one of, if not the longest continuous piece of point to point single track in the Midwest.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Next Steps in Namakagon

Namakagon Project Leader John Leighton recently submitted this report.

The logging operation east of FR203 is complete and we have started work on the trail to N17. From what we have seen so far the loggers were very careful with the flag line, placing their own flags to make it more obvious. They also removed slash from the vicinity of the flag line.

The Forest Service called me yesterday to confirm that going forward there will be a no-cut buffer zone maintained for our trails of 50 feet either side of the trail, and an additional 150 feet tapering from there. This is great news especially for the area of mature hardwoods that are so incredibly beautiful.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New Trail Open in Namakagon - additional one mile section opened

An additional one mile section of easy riding single track was opened on June 24. It runs on the Patsy Lake Trail from N14 to the Namakagon Trail, and is now designated the Patsy Lake Cutoff. The intersection of the new trail with the Namakagon Trail has been designated N16. The old Patsy Lake Cutoff to FR 206, and the road ride to the intersection of FR 206 and FR 203 have been decommissioned. All Patsy Lake return traffic is routed onto the new trail.

This completes a total of 2.3 miles of new easy riding single track in the non-motorized area west of FR 203/206. Work has resumed on the difficult single track from N29 to N11. So far this year the total hours spent on trail construction and maintenance in the Namakagon Cluster exceeds 1,000 hours. Thanks volunteers, paid crew, and the National Forest Service interns.

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

New Trail Open in Namakagon

A 1.3 mile section of easy riding single track from N23 to N14 was opened for riding on June 10. The location of N23 has been moved 50 yards west on Wilson Lake Road to the start of the new trail. N24, N25 and the use of snowmobile trail #3 have been decommissioned. All traffic on the Patsy Lake Trail south of N14 will be routed onto the new trail for the return. This eliminates contention with ATVs using snowmobile trail #3, and logging which is scheduled east of FR 206 this summer.

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

Single-track trail from N29 to N11 on the Rock Lake Trail is open

Trail Opening

The single-track trail from N29 to N11 on the Rock Lake Trail has been completed and is open for riding (ribbons will be removed today.) The double-track going to N12 has been decommissioned. All traffic from N29 is directed down the new trail.

This trail has many long stretches of easy riding with some drama from time to time, e.g. Wall Street. All trail features on the trail are easily cleared with the chain ring on my hard-tail. This includes the Bactrian Backbreaker which I rode 5 times yesterday during construction.

We began work on this section almost a year ago. There have been many who helped in the construction. Thanks to all who have given a part of themselves to this trail, and the National Forest Service for making this trail possible.

John Leighton

Monday, July 27, 2009

The inaugural CAMBA Festival of the Trails is now history

Inaugural CAMBA Festival of the Trails is now historyThe inaugural CAMBA Festival of the Trails is now history – and what a great start it was! Perfect weather greeted the 110 registered participants who began arriving at Hatchery Creek Park in Hayward on Friday afternoon, June 12. The trails were marked and hosts standing by so riders could immediately begin “Touring de Trails.” These self-guided rides were set up throughout the CAMBA system in southern Bayfield and northern Sawyer Counties to give visitors a chance to sample all of the new singletrack trails developed in the region over the past several years. As riders returned from the trails Hatchery Creek Park proved to be an ideal base to hang out, snack and enjoy a cold beverage. Later in the evening a group of about 25 intrepid riders donned headlamps and headed out for the Twi-Night Ride on the Hatchery Creek Trail.    Most rode the entire trail up to
Mosquito Brook Trailhead and back with some taking a short course option. The evening concluded with cold malt beverages (beer) provided by the Angry Minnow Brewery and a toasty warm fire on the
cool summer night.  Photos here

Sunday, July 26, 2009