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Panel approves recreation plan

Douglas County could soon have a plan for places to play. Whether you enjoy boating, fishing, trails, swimming, cross-country skiing or camping, the plan offers a little something for everybody by laying out a plan to improve parks, recreation ar...

Douglas County could soon have a plan for places to play.

Whether you enjoy boating, fishing, trails, swimming, cross-country skiing or camping, the plan offers a little something for everybody by laying out a plan to improve parks, recreation areas and trails in Douglas County.

The five-year plan offers a pavilion, campsite improvements and developing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant pathways and play equipment at Mooney Dam County Park; constructing a secure tool shed and maintenance building, improving campsites and building a pump house at Gordon Park County Dam; and replacing the shower building and beach area bathroom at Lucius Woods County Park among recommendations for the county's premiere parks. However, plans include improvements at all of Douglas County's parks.

Other projects could include general maintenance, erosion control measures and landscaping, as well as lake bottom repair at boat launch sites to address scouring from power boats loading at the facilities. Some areas could see parking lot improvements and improved signage.

"This is just kind of a projection - a best-case wish list - of improvements that we could do, that we would like to do over the next five years," said Jon Harris, director of Forestry and Natural Resources. He said the plan is required so the county can qualify for state grant programs for outdoor recreational facility development.

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"A key thing for your fellow supervisors: They sometimes get nervous that that document somehow obligates them to spend money," said Mark Schroeder, parks and recreation manager. "It does not. It provides a pathway, a projection, and as funding becomes available and the Board makes decisions, it gives them a framework."

County Board Chairman Mark Liebaert noted there are no timelines attached to the individual projects that could be completed over the next five years. He said some of the projects included in the plan were requested by the public.

While the plan features projected improvements for each of the county's seven parks, three recreational areas and some of the nearly 350 miles for recreational trails, Schroeder said the County Board could amend the final plan at any time for grant purposes.

The plan was developed by Northwest Wisconsin Planning Commission with input from the public, Schroeder said.

The Forestry, Parks and Recreation committee approved the plan Monday; the County Board considers the plan when it meets Jan. 17.

The plan is available on the forestry department webpage at douglascountywi.org.

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