MADISON, Wisconsin. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking public input on the Draft Rib Mountain State Park Master Plan, which outlines proposed future public use and management of the park. The public can submit comments through a variety of opportunities, including a public open house on November 3, 2022 from 4-7 p.m. Campus Drive in Wausau.
Rib Mountain State Park was established in 1927 and was centered around what, at the time, was believed to be the highest point in Wisconsin: Rib Mountain. The park has grown in size and popularity over the years and now encompasses almost 1,600 acres and receives more than 400,000 visitors a year. About 400 acres of the park is currently leased for an alpine skiing operation called the Granite Peak Ski Area. Except for the ski area, most of the park’s public use areas and facilities are clustered on approximately 60 acres of more level terrain at the top of the mountain, providing spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
“The Rib Mountain State Park Draft Master Plan reflects the many public uses and ecological capabilities of the park, as well as the public input the department has received throughout this process,” said Terry Bay, Director of the Office of DNR Facilities and Lands. “We hope that everyone with an interest in the park will take the opportunity to learn more about what the draft plan proposes and have their voice heard.”
A master plan, guided by Chapter NR 44, Wisconsin Administrative Code, establishes the level and type of resource management and public use permitted on department-managed properties. The result of this master plan review process will be a plan that replaces the park’s existing 2005 master plan. Highlights of the proposed management in the Rib Mountain State Park Draft Master Plan include:
- Upgrades and expansions of mountain recreation facilities to enhance the park’s value as a year-round community asset.
- Development of an extensive network of mountain biking trails that cater to different skill levels and connect to nearby biking opportunities as part of a regional network of trails.
- A proposed expansion of the current lease area from 412 to 512 acres.
- Development of a trail that circles the mountain for hiking, biking, and winter activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and winter biking.
- Construction of a small campsite accessible from the entrance road to the park.
- Expansion of climbing and bouldering opportunities.
- Adjusted state natural area boundary to include all highest quality occurrences of natural talus forest, bedrock glade, and glacier talus communities.
- Management to improve the diversity and structure of the forest and benefit the park’s wildlife.
- Expansion of the project boundaries of the park to potentially connect the park to the Nine Mile County Forest and to protect a large wooded hill to the west of the park.
The public is encouraged to visit the Rib Mountain State Park Master Plan website for additional information on the planning process and to provide feedback.
The DNR will host an in-person public meeting from 4-7 pm on November 3, 2022 at the Northcentral Technical College, Health Sciences Center Building (Room 1004A/B), 1000 W. Campus Drive in Wausau. DNR staff will give a short presentation at 5:30 pm The presentation will be recorded and uploaded to the Rib Mountain State Park Master Plan webpage after the meeting.
Hard copies of the document are also available at the Rib Mountain State Park Office and at the Wausau, Rothschild, and Marathon City Public Libraries.
Written comments may be submitted through November 14, 2022, using this interactive public input form or by downloading a hard copy to submit via U.S. mail. Following the close of the public comment period, the department will summarize the comments. and will adjust the plan as necessary before proposing the plan for approval to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board. Comments may also be sent to John Pohlman, lead planner for the Draft Rib Mountain State Park Master Plan, by email at [email protected], by phone at 608-264-6263, or by mail:
Attention: John Pohlman LF/6
101 S. Webster St. PO Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707