Wisconsin Bike Trail Attracts Riders

By Beacon Staff

No sooner did the City of Whitefish slap pavement down on the Wisconsin bike trail than bicyclists and walkers started using it. “We’ve needed it for a long time,” said Mike Henson, who tested the new trail with his two children last Friday.

The two-mile Wisconsin bicycle-pedestrian path–one more link in the Fish Trails project–is already proving to be a popular thoroughfare. “A lot more people are using it than I thought,” mused Henson.

The trail connects downtown Whitefish with several residential communities along Wisconsin and East Lakeshore, including Iron Horse, Crestwood, and Houston Point. The lighted, paved path goes from the north side of the Baker Street viaduct along the west side of Wisconsin. Just south of Labrie Drive, it crosses the busy road to Wisconsin’s east side and continues to its terminus at Alpine Court.

For the Henson family, the trail seems a boon, providing safe bicycling from their Houston Point home to town. Accompanied by his seven-year-old daughter Jessica and four-year-old son Jacob, Henson led his kids on a cycle touring adventure to buy ice cream cones.

Jessica grinned and said of the trail, “It’s good.” Just freed from his training wheels, Jacob rode half way by himself before he and his bike hitched a ride in the trailer pulled behind his dad.

As gas prices linger just below the $4 mark, summer roads around town have seen an increase in ATVs, mopeds, and bicycles. High gas may also induce more people to use local bike paths.

Bicycle proponents would love to see even more bicycle trails. “It would be nice to have a path to Kalispell,” said Henson. “We should also have a path completely around the lake, especially with all the bike tourists here.”