Trail links Janesville to Afton

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Gazette staff
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
— As of noon today, Janesville cyclists will be able to ride off-road all the way to Afton.

Workers planned to finish a one-third-mile trail segment by noon today and take down the “no trespassing” sign that has greeted riders when they reach the trail’s end at the Janesville Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The segment will link the trail to another segment that will complete a 5.5-mile trail from the corner of Rockport and Afton roads in Janesville to Eau Claire Road north of Afton. That’s where a county trail picks up and enters downtown Afton.

The often tree-shaded trail runs along the Rock River.

The Janesville City Council agreed to buy the $45,000 strip of land—largely an old railroad right-of-way—last month.

The Rock Trail Coalition paid $10,000 of the cost, and residents Bill and Sandy Graham donated another $10,000. Bill is the founder of a native-seed company based in Evansville named Agrecol, which is donating $10,000 in native-plant seed for the project.

Mike Morris, who sold the land to the city, organized volunteers and donated the use of his heavy equipment to clear the trail.

City Parks Director Tom Presny said the trail will be graded, then packed with stone and earth until the city finds money to pave it. He said it would be rough but usable for bicyclists this afternoon.

The long-term plan is for the county to complete a trail from Afton south to Beloit’s Big Hill Park, and for Beloit to build a trail from the park into the city. In the meantime, bicyclists could continue from Afton south to Beloit on Afton Road or through a combination of country roads, Presny said.

Closer at hand are trail segments to be built in conjunction with the Highway 26 bypass of Milton in 2012-13, which will connect the Janesville trail system to the Jefferson County line, Presny said. That trail will connect with other trails leading all the way to Watertown by 2014.

Last updated: 6:13 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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