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City plans outdoors community

Walkers move along the Osaugie Trail in Superior near Barkers Island. Jed Carlson /

The city has plans for the great outdoors.

But now, with the help of residents and visitors, the city is hoping to modernize those plans and put them together in one comprehensive document that will pull all the pieces together.

"We've got a city of Superior Master Park Plan, a Municipal Forest Master Plan, a Billings Park Master Plan," said Linda Cadotte, parks recreation and forestry director. "They provide guidance on lands, recreational resources within the city's boundaries."

However, the plans were last revised in 2010 and don't necessarily reflect the needs, desires and opportunities for programs, services and facilities that are desirable today, Cadotte said. She said the goal of engaging the public to develop a plan that diversifies recreational opportunities, facilities and services according to the desires of the community.

The comprehensive outdoor recreation plan is being developed with the help of a Wisconsin Coastal Management grant. Because the plan would be developed in accordance with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources standards, Cadotte said the plan would line the city up for grant funding to implement elements of the plan and ensures the city looks at other federal and state funding opportunities.

Working with Northwest Regional Planning Commission, the comprehensive plan will be well-researched and designed to serve the needs of the community not just now, but hopefully well into the future, and will tie together other planning processes, said Superior Mayor Jim Paine.

Paine said his goal in the planning process is to make sure Superior is as fun a city as it can be.

"Superior is a great outdoor city with a lot of assets," Paine said. "We're kind of an outdoors people; we like to spend time outdoors. But the things that we do and enjoy today are not the same kinds of things we did and enjoyed 50 years ago."

The group of citizens, city staff and councilors working on the plan are counting on the public to weigh in to expand on the ideas they have.

Next week, a survey will be posted to give people an opportunity to weigh in on what opportunities they would like to see.

"We've been doing the same thing for decades," Paine said. "We have a lot of assets and resources that were built and are maintained and managed the same way they have been for decades. Children today are different than children 30 years ago. Adults today are different than adults 30 years ago."

Paine said while tourism could be a factor, the goal is to make Superior a place where citizens have low-cost options for fun things to do every day, year-round.

"We want to make sure everyone can get in the woods, get into the water and enjoy them," Paine said.

City Councilor Keith Kern said the Superior Municipal Forest is underutilized and he's hopeful the plan will provide the city better direction so it is used to its fullest extent.

Douglas County Board Supervisor Keith Allen, there are opportunities to better connect the city for motorized recreation. He said he would like to see a cross-town trail for all-terrain vehicles to create a connection from the waterfront to South Superior or North 28th Street. While the cities Crosstown Trail is available to snowmobilers in the winter, there is no similar option for people who ride ATVs.

"My priorities are to see Superior become a more walkable, bikeable community that benefit people in all neighborhoods, abilities, and income levels, while protecting the integrity of our Municipal Forest, said Councilor Jenny Van Sickle. "More importantly, I'm most excited to see this vision be crafted by the citizens of Superior, because after all it's them this plan should primarily benefit."

Hopefully, we'll get some research of other similarly-sized communities to see what they do and what opportunities they offer, Kern said.

"It's also an opportunity to look at missed opportunities," Cadotte said. Some opportunities could include enhancement of a waterfront trail designation, developing and expanding connected use trails, creating new recreational opportunities such as pickleball, mountain or fat-tire biking, and provide guidance and a roadmap for current community desires.

Paine said he's hoping to hear from everyone.

"If you don't hear from us, please seek us out," Paine said.

Plans are to launch the survey Monday or Tuesday when technical issues are ironed out, said Jason Laumann, a planner with Northwest Regional Planning Commission. He's working with the city to develop the comprehensive outdoor plan. He said the online survey will be available through the city's website at and Northwest Regional Planning's site at, and paper copies will be available through the city's Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department for people who don't have online access.

"If we don't have feedback with what the community is wanting," Kern said, "we have a hard time making decisions of what needs to be done and what the direction is that we want to go."