He Nis Ra

New Year‘s Ride 2020

Update…thanks to your letters, calls, and overall support, bicycle use will continue at He Nis Ra Park. Remember to use proper etiquette and be courteous to others enjoying the park. Cheers and Ride On!

2020 was a hell of a year for our country and community alike and 2021 is off to a rocky start. In order to stay sane and stave off cabin fever, people took to outdoor recreation in droves. Needless to say, this trend has increased the demand for open spaces and has some people competing for these resources.

He Nis Ra Park is one of those resources that is the topic of discussion here. He Nis Ra is a hilly, wooded park on the far west side of Green Bay, on South Point Road. The topography and size of this park is desirable to hikers, bikers, runners, skiers, and snowshoers. Because of the increased traffic at the park in the last year, a group of neighbors have grown concerned about preserving the park’s natural state and are requesting to limit recreational activities. Unfortunately, they feel that mountain biking and fat-tire biking is too destructive and dangerous. While we cyclists know this to be untrue, this request is moving forward rapidly and will come before the Green Bay Common Council on Tuesday, January 19th via zoom (link below).

Our mission at the Collective is to educate, encourage, and advocate for cyclists and pedestrians and we have engaged our local leaders on this situation. However, our city council members still need to hear from you. We ask that you contact your local alder person (see attached info) and explain to them why you feel it is important to let biking remain at He Nis Ra. If you do not live in Green Bay Proper (say DePere, Allouez, Ashwaubenon, or farther) feel free to email the council directly (info below). To give you a little background, bikes have always been allowed at the park, but for the most part, the groups were small. Once the Parks Department began a trial grooming of the trails in winter for fat bikes, usage increased wildly, because we have few options in Green Bay for this activity.

The neighbors biggest concern for safety is due to a few claims of cyclists breezing past walkers on the trail without warning. Obviously that can be an intimidating experience and we know that is not proper etiquette and yielding is. A second concern is environmental damage. The majority of the trails in the park have been there for decades. In an attempt to give skiers and cyclists separate loops, a new trail was designed to accommodate bikers and make a tricky corner safer. We know that riding off trail is unacceptable, as is walking off trail. We also know that fat bikes do not cause damage to frozen ground and to stay off the trails when they are soft. The same way hikers shouldn’t trudge through mud on trails. Some neighbors suggested an alternate location. The Parks Department studied the available parks and He Nis Ra fit the bill. We’ve done what we can to educate the neighbors and will continue to educate the alders with facts. We also need to educate our less experienced riders, so our activities remain sustainable.

Please feel free to reach out to us at the Collective via email (info@gbbicycle.org) or Facebook, or to the bikes shops. We are a community of cyclists, but we don’t want to be painted with a broad brush and become faceless. We strongly encourage you to reach out to your alders and the council and attend the Zoom meeting on January 19th. Lastly, be respectful. The neighbors around He Nis Ra love the park and do want to see a compromise. Our alders also have the tough job of choosing a side and our comments will reflect on the group as a whole.

Thank you and ride on!

Heather Gentry, GBBC Director

Link to alders. For those of us outside GB Proper, there’s a link on the common council page in the upper right hand corner, to send and email to the whole council.

https://greenbaywi.gov/617/Common-Council

Alder district map. Not sure who your representative is? This map will show you what district you’re in and the common council link will have the number next to your alder.

Common Council meeting for January 19th, at 6:00 PM via Zoom

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81148427359

Meeting ID: 811 4842 7359 Passcode: 254148

Article. Natural Resource Impacts of Mountain Biking

https://www.americantrails.org/resources/natural-resource-impacts-of-mountain-biking

Article. The Outdoor Recreation Economy