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Notice: Upcoming Railroad Abandonment in Brown County, Wisconsin


On or about October 21, 2010, Wisconsin Central Ltd. filed for the abandonment of 1.92 miles of track between the Village of Howard and the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin Reservation. The corridor begins in the Village of Howard close to the intersection of Hillcrest Drive and Riverdale Drive (near the end of the Newton Blackmour State Trail), and runs east.

In the filing, the railroad indicates the corridor may be suitable for trail use. This corridor is also identified for potential rail-trail development (in the event the railroad filed for abandonment) in the 2005-2010 Village of Howard Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. We are providing this information because it presents an opportunity to develop a real regional asset: a multi-use trail that can accommodate hikers, bikers, equestrians and other appropriate uses.

NEXT STEPS: If this corridor is suitable for trail use, we strongly urge local trail advocates, or an appropriate local, regional or state agency or organization, to take action now. A "boiler plate" letter (found here) can be filed with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and the abandoning railroad using STB docket number AB-303 (sub-no. 36X). Filing this letter does not commit its authors to acquire the corridor; it merely gives time to develop a rail-trail proposal and undertake negotiations with the railroad. According to the information we have received, the deadline for filing this letter is before November 19, 2010. Even if this deadline is missed, there is probably still time to contact the relevant parties, since the railroad may have experienced a delay in filing all of the paperwork, or the STB may still have jurisdiction over the corridor. However, it is important to take prompt action. The STB posts all abandonment decisions and filings on its Web site, including the complete filing for this corridor. More information on the rail corridor, including a map, can be found in this filing.

The STB has imposed a $200 filing fee for all railbanking requests. Entities filing a railbanking request may request a fee waiver or reduction, and government agencies will receive an automatic fee waiver. Throughout the process, make sure local government officials and citizen activists are kept informed of the project's progress. We also recommend contacting your state trails coordinator or your state bicycle/pedestrian coordinator. Both of these individuals are knowledgeable about state laws and resources and may be able to assist your community with this rail-trail project. Also, you may want to contact the abandoning railroad to add your name to their service list.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE: RTC's Web site may provide valuable tools as you plan for a rail-trail, including how-to manuals, the Trail-Building Toolbox, our Publications Library and the Trails & Greenways Listserv for trail advocates and professionals. These resources can be found within the "Trail-Building" section of our Web site. If you take advantage of this information and other resources promptly, you will be well on your way to creating a successful rail-trail in your community. For more information, or if you decide to pursue railbanking, please contact the Midwest Regional Office of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

Posted Tue, Nov 2 2010 2:23 PM by Lindsay Martin (RTC)


Andrew Plath wrote re: Notice: Upcoming Railroad Abandonment in Brown County, Wisconsin
on Wed, Nov 3 2010 8:35 PM

This is encouraging.   This line is located just a few miles south of the eastern end of the Mountain-Bay State Trail in Howard, WI.  It is always good to see other rail-trails in the vicinity of the Mountain-Bay State Trail.  This will add to the Newton-Blackmour State Trail additional connections.

Mike Mahy wrote re: Notice: Upcoming Railroad Abandonment in Brown County, Wisconsin
on Thu, May 19 2011 6:57 PM

I purchased the "Midwest Trail Gude" last year and was surprised to discover that the "Mountain-Bay" trail was not in it.  What determines which trails are published?

rupert velduzen wrote re: Notice: Upcoming Railroad Abandonment in Brown County, Wisconsin
on Tue, Jul 10 2012 4:35 PM

when gas is $10.00 a gallon  the school tax that forced these abandonments  may have a better idea for surface transportation


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