Oct 21: Trout Trail Workday Summary and Pics

It sure feels good to finally put a pretty little bow on this awesome project !!

Three years, three work days, many meetings, a good amount of funding (including one grant), Covid, etc…and GBTU can proudly say our “Trout Tails” Educational Trail is finally complete.

First, we needed to wait until the final wave of signs were designed and produced. They were finished and picked up on Thursday, October 19th. In order to get this second wave of signs in the ground, close to the same time the first wave of signs went in (last summer), we wanted to wrap this project up sooner than later (all the signs could then age at about the same rate). The Wisconsin trout season also came into play as we wanted to wait until the season was over (it ended on Sunday, Oct 15th). Taking all of these things into account, we were determined to get this done on October 21st…come rain or shine !

That declaration of “come rain or shine” almost bit us in the butt. The work day was set to start at 9a. At 8:30a most volunteers had our wipers on high as we drove to the sight. At his point there was no turning back though…the messages had been sent, the power post-hole digger had been rented, and the signs were waiting. As luck would have it, the heavy rain stopped by 9a. From that time, until we wrapped up, we only dealt with on and off light rain.

On this work day the plan was to install the final 8 signs along the trail. We were also hoping to remove invasive glossy buckthorn and autumn olive from the Haller Creek shoreline. Unfortunately, we would not have time for the shoreline cleanup as we needed all our volunteers to finish the trail signage.

We broke into two groups. One group let the way…drilling the post holes. The second group followed…putting the posts in the ground, making sure they were level (and the same approximate height), filling the holes, and attaching the signs. We had rented the post digger for 4 hours and told volunteers the actual work would go from 9a-noon. Wouldn’t you know it…like a fine oiled machine…this amazing group finished putting the last sign in at around 11:45a, the post digger was on it’s way back the the rental company, and we all were ready for lunch.

At around noon GBTU work project chair, Paul Kruse, fired up the chapter’s backstone grill. Today’s menu featured brat patties, burgers, toasted buns, and chips. Thanks to the generosity of a couple our chapter’s wives, we also had a delicious cookie bar desert and a fantastic bacon pasta salad (Mary K and Kim VB).

We were hoping for the opportunity to spread the word of GBTU’s great work during the “Trail Unveil Chapter Meet & Greet” that followed the work day. Our educational trail is just off the parking lot of the Northeast Wisconsin Zoo (N.E.W. Zoo) and we expected a lot of zoo visitors would see our canopies and banner. Unfortunately, due to the rainy weather, there were very few people that ventured out.

The great news is our new GBTU Trout Tails Educational Trail will provide a positive impact for our coldwater resources for a good 10-20 years. Something we can all be very proud of.

A giant thanks goes to the volunteers who made this day a huge success: Paul Kruse, Doug Seidl, Jim Vanden Branden, Jack Koivisto, Kim McCarthy, Carla Zimmerman, Dave Ostanek, Jon Ostanek, Pat Hill, Adrian Meseberg, and Kevin. A massive thanks also goes to the Trout Trail Committee, all the volunteers who came out on the other two work days, the WI DNR, the Brown County Parks Department (Jason P), Reforestation Camp, and all our donors/supporters. It takes a village to pull off a successful vision like this.

In case anyone was wondering…”Trout Tails” is a play on words created by past-president, current BOD member, and sign designer Randy Rake. Our signs tell the “tale” of trout and their habitats’ importance to the environment, recreation, and more. Trout “Tails,” as in the dorsal fins of the fish, are part of the boarder designs within the signs. Randy’s talent in designing, and gathering the content, for our signs cannot be understated.

Check out the pictures of our work day below: