About us

Photo by Robin Reynolds

Ordinary Doing the Extraordinary

We are a group of ordinary people doing an extraordinary thing. We’re building a trail and leaving a legacy!

Welcome to the Wisconsin River Trail Organization (WRTO) webpage. On this site you will learn about who we are and how we are creating a 20+ mile trail in the Driftless communities of Boscobel, Woodman, and Wauzeka to the lower Wisconsin riverway.

We are excited to share every step of our way with you with the hopes of meeting you, our new friend, on our trail with a smile and a friendly “Hello”.

Our Non-Profit Organization: WRTO

Our Mission

We will preserve the beauty of the Wisconsin River Trails, through the acquisition, development, and maintenance of Trail property for conservation, in order to promote an environment of health and wellness.

The Wisconsin River Trail Organization is a 501c3 Non-Profit (EIN 46-5278938). Download our WRTO Bylaws (Revised 2019) AND Articles of Incorporation Document (Revised Mar 2019)

Our Vision

 The Wisconsin River Trail Organization and its many supportive partners, collaborate and envision a pristine, unique, silent sport, paved, safe recreational trail loop that is supported and maintained by the WRTO and its friends group. 

This recreational trail will offer peaceful, natural views of rural landscape, which will provide a renewed sense of health and wellness-physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Our Goals

The goal of this non-profit organization is to create a River Trail in four phases that will allow us to succeed and share the land we love so much with others that may need the quiet solitude of our rural setting.
Wisconsin River Trail Map showing the various phases of trail construction.
First photo on the Trail for Denise

Why do we call it the Driftless area? 

The Driftless area is a unique region in the Midwest that stands out from the surrounding areas due to its geological history.

Unlike the rest of the Midwest, the Driftless area was not touched by the last glacier, which means that the landscape was not flattened or reshaped by the glacial activity that occurred during the last ice age. As a result, the Driftless area boasts beautiful rolling hills, deep valleys, and lush greenery that is unlike anything else in the region.

The Wisconsin River and the Mississippi River, two of the most iconic rivers in the United States, proudly meet in our neck of the woods, and the unique landscape of the Driftless area provides a stunning backdrop for all kinds of outdoor activities.

From hiking and camping to fishing and kayaking, there is no shortage of things to do and see in the Driftless area. So if you’re looking for a truly unique and beautiful destination for your next vacation, look no further than the Driftless area of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin River Trail Phase 1

The first phase is to finish our Sanders Creek walking/biking trail to our boat landing in Boscobel.

Depending on the natural habitat that exists there, the cost of fill needed, and the most recreationally beneficial boat landing to attach our trail to, we have yet to commit to a west side (Floyd Von Haden Boat Landing) or the east side, which is a more basic landing that allows for canoeists to port.

No matter what side is chosen, our citizens, children, and tourists will be able to walk or bike to the boat landing safely, viewing our natural habitat of eagle’s nests and turtle habitats as they travel.

What else can you do when you are in town for activities?

Boscobel has plenty of activities to offer. If you’re a fan of fishing, we have some of the best cold-water trout and river fishing in the area.

For those who love to paddle, the Wisconsin River is perfect for canoeing and kayaking.

If hiking is more your style, you can explore the 389-acre Boscobel Bluffs preserve.

And don’t forget to take in the beauty, history, and outdoor recreation opportunities that the Wisconsin River has to offer – visitors are always welcome!

Wisconsin River Trail Phase 2

Our next phase is to create a hiking/biking trail that leads from Boscobel toward Woodman following, in areas, the railroad trails.

It is legally and financially beneficial to parallel parts of the railroad trails, 51 feet from the tracks, to minimize the need to clear land, and also, to widen easements that are not taxing to the landowners.

Springtime view over flowers and the marshes of the Wisconsin River trail looking into Crawford County.
Photo by Michelle Farrell

Looking for a rural escape that’s not too far from the city?

Look no further than Boscobel! Located just an hour away from Madison and Dubuque, and a short 1½-hour drive from LaCrosse, we’re the perfect destination for a day trip, weekend getaway, or even a week-long vacation.

In our quaint and friendly community, you can step back in time and experience the simple pleasures of country living. And don’t worry about breaking the bank – our prices are affordable! We offer a variety of charming cafes and shops that won’t leave a dent in your wallet.

In addition to our beautiful natural surroundings, the Wisconsin River Trail Organization hosts a variety of events and activities throughout the year that are perfect for visitors and locals alike. 

Check out our website and follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on upcoming events and activities. Come experience the best of rural living with the Wisconsin River Trail Organization!

Wisconsin River Trail Phase 3

Phase three, our biggest feat and most exciting segment of our trail, will be to cross over the Wisconsin River in an area that boasts country and river scenery that allows for peaceful, one-of-a-kind views of nature that can now only be seen by boat.

We are contracting with UW-Platteville Engineering departments to construct a bridging system that is disability accessible, with fishing areas, and even a view of an early 1900’s turnstile, built when the river was deep and wide enough for barge traffic.

It is approximately 4 miles to Wauzeka from this path, with a need for 4-7 bridges, and a stretch of land and river that will bring you back to nature in a pristine, quiet, and relaxing setting.

Discover a Hidden Gem: Shop, Dine, and Relax in Boscobel

When it comes to planning a vacation, budget is always a consideration. But in Boscobel, you don’t have to sacrifice affordability to enjoy a memorable trip.

Our small-town atmosphere offers a unique charm that you won’t find in big cities, and our cafes and shops provide plenty of opportunities to relax, unwind, and indulge. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, local history, or just some good old-fashioned relaxation, Boscobel has something for everyone.

You Should Be Here!

As you plan your visit, be sure to take advantage of the resources available through the local Chamber of Commerce, Grant County Tourism or drop us a question or two through our contact page.

We’re always here to help you make the most of your time in Boscobel!

Wisconsin River Trail Phase 4

Our last phase will be to bring the trail full circle from Wauzeka back to Boscobel following roughly the Highway 60 path which follows the Wisconsin River.

We know our goals are lofty, but we also know that, if we divide this trail into phases, that we will succeed and be able to share the land that we love so much, with others that may need the quiet solitude of our rural setting.

Photo by Jack Kinney

The Wisconsin River Trail Organization Board

The Wisconsin River Trail Organization Board consists of the members listed below.

 

Frank Phalin

We owe a debt of gratitude to our volunteers and supporters

Your unwavering dedication and commitment have been integral to our success.

It is because of their selfless contributions that we have been able to reach the point where we stand today, on the cusp of turning our vision into reality. Their tireless efforts have not gone unnoticed, and we are eternally grateful for their support in bringing the Wisconsin River Trail to life.

Thank you to each and every one of our volunteers and supporters for your incredible contributions!

Trail Construction

We have divided the construction of the Wisconsin River Trail into four distinct phases, each with its own unique set of challenges and opportunities.

To learn more about the phases we have already completed and those that are yet to come, we invite you to explore our website and discover the latest updates on our progress.

Whether you’re a seasoned trail enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of outdoor recreation, there is something for everyone to discover on the Wisconsin River Trail. Join us on this exciting journey as we work together to create a trail that will be cherished by generations to come!

Winter on the trail

Because of Our Partners We Are Able to Do More

Our latest updates

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Looking for a helper for the bike safety rodeo being held in Boscobel at the big park at 9 am on April 27th to help fit helmets. If interested, please let Wendi Stitzer know or LMK and I will reach back out to her. Thank you! ... See MoreSee Less

Hi All! When Bobby G Rice came home last year to perform, a great person asked if we would consider putting up a sign that recognizes our country music legendary singer/songwriter as we are lucky enough to call him ours! I'm working on putting up a sign, which is not as easy as it sounds! WHEW! Anyway, I am going to start a fund to pay for the costs of the sign and wanted to let everyone know that. I need to get in touch with Community First Bank to start an account there for us and will try to accomplish this tomorrow. If you would be so kind as to consider a small (or large) donation, I'm hoping we can:
Have Bobby return home again to perform by his new sign.
Have this sign completed by the middle of June so we can celebrate him turning 80 this year (I believe...)!
Show him that we love him!
Give his lovely wife Alice a huge hug too!

Any thoughts you might have, please send me a message. Thank You and please, please SHARE!
... See MoreSee Less

Hi All! When Bobby G Rice came home last year to perform, a great person asked if we would consider putting up a sign that recognizes our country music legendary singer/songwriter as we are lucky enough to call him ours! Im working on putting up a sign, which is not as easy as it sounds! WHEW! Anyway, I am going to start a fund to pay for the costs of the sign and wanted to let everyone know that. I need to get in touch with Community First Bank to start an account there for us and will try to accomplish this tomorrow. If you would be so kind as to consider a small (or large) donation, Im hoping we can:
Have Bobby return home again to perform by his new sign.
Have this sign completed by the middle of June so we can celebrate him turning 80 this year (I believe...)!
Show him that we love him!
Give his lovely wife Alice a huge hug too!

Any thoughts you might have, please send me a message. Thank You and please, please SHARE!
Load more
Winter photo taken from the Wisconsin River Trail sun shining through the trees, reflecting off the water.

Our numbers that speak

… and miles to go before we sleep.

Our numbers push us to do our best and every year we strive to raise more funds for trail construction than we did the year before.

Love grows here.

Total Miles
0 +
Trail Miles Funded
0 +
Major Grants Received
$ 0 M+
Community Events Held
0

Your monthly contribution helps show community involvement and improves our grant applications hugely. Please consider a small monthly donation (as low as $5 a month) to help us build the trail.