No WI DS Route - Northern Highland - American Legion State Forest

Discussion in 'Central – From Da Nort Woods to the Plane States' started by Cannonshot, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Just finished proofing a 133 mile dual sport route that is principally based in the Northern Highland - American Legion State Forest in northern Wisconsin. The track starts and ends near Eagle River.

    I started with a 184 mile draft track, but by the time I sorted out the berms, cables, and gates in the forest I got down to a very comfortable and entertaining 133 miles. All of the track is based on paths open to motorized travel. The two track sections are based on perpetual forest roads. Some of these roads are also used as snowmobile trails in the winter. The ride may take about 5 hours to complete. All of the roads involved with this route are open to street licensed vehicles. A good portion of the route involves paved or gravel roads. Most are scenic, twisty, and entertaining.

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    The NH-AL State Forest is around 233,000 acres. There is plenty of great scenery, lakes, campgrounds, and touristy small towns within the area.

    Motorized recreation is not very prominent in this area during the summer months. While scouting in this area we met a few mountain bikers, berry pickers, and a family exercising their dogs on the two-tracks. As always, it is important to show proper etiquette and respect for other users in these encounters. Our footprint was so insignificant on these tracks I doubt anyone would even know we were there.

    For maps and general information about the NH-AL State Forest, you can visit this web site:
    http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/forestry/stateforests/SF-NH-AL/NH-AL-maps.htm

    I will try to make the track available in GPS Central, but if it doesn't work out, PM me an e-mail address and I will send it to you.

    A closer look at the track:
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    I put some photos in the next post to give you an idea of what the dirt sections are like.

    Edit: I should mention that (depending on speed of course) this track is mild enough for a novice to ride and enjoy. It is a perfect place for the less experienced to have a great ride without having a lot of trouble. As in all tracks, increased speed can turn something from mild to challenging for the more advanced riders. "Hazards" may include small pieces of limbs on the track, some puddles, a bit of sand, and some surfaces that could be slippery when wet. I rode it at a slower pace (27 moving average versus the usual 38-42 for this kind of stuff) and really enjoyed the ride. Even on the road sections I found myself taking it slow as there is a lot to see and enjoy.
    #1
  2. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    The day I proofed the track was in the 50s (mid-July) and misting much of the time. This made for slippery conditions in some of the dimmer, grassy sections. Even riding at a much slower pace in some areas, the path was fun.
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    HodakaD is from the area and answered my internet call to ride along. I'm glad he did. Some of the sections were somewhat remote. Best not to ride this alone. Thanks for coming along Dan, it was all good fun.
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    The gravel forest roads are entertaining as well.
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    Much of the route reminded me of riding the Wabeno dual sport events - minus the hero sections of course.
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    There is one spot where there is a significant road in place due to some logging operations in the area. I suspect that eventually this road will be bermed which will require a short go-around for a rider to regain the track a short distance down the line. As always, respect all berms, cables, gates, and signs.
    Edit: In coordinating with an official from the NH-AL, I found that this road will likely remain open so no go-around will be required. The track should remain true.
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    We encountered an albino deer that presented itself quite nicely. Of course, by the time I got the camera out the deer had moved into cover. Oh well. We also came upon a large canid. It seemed a little tall and lanky and bold for a coyote and may have been a wolf (this is wolf country). I went over to where it had been standing on a two track looking for a decent footprint to evaluate, but I didn't see anything.
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    There is a tiny bit of sand on this course. Probably just enough to help a novice build some skills.
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    #2
  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    #3
  4. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

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    Looks like a fun area to ride!
    #4
  5. petersp

    petersp Adventurer

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    I'm a little familiar with the state forest and you picked out a great route. There are lots of options for camping in a bunch of state forest's campgrounds. The route passes my house and I'm available to answer questions about the area.
    #5
  6. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Vilas County is often seen as a silent sports type area (except for summer boating and the winter economic boost of snowmobiling). In fact, the county held a referendum that pretty much killed the prospect of ATV trails in the county. An ATV trail had been studied for the State Forest and that project was pretty much killed off as well.

    So with that in mind, it would be good to keep in mind that it might be best to maintain a low profile when dealing with people you meet on the trail or in the towns. Most everyone I know already know this, but I have had the misfortune of being around some people who don't get it. I have seen the wheelie popping, engine revving knuckleheads that call the wrong kind of attention to themselves in the wrong places (like in small towns). Thankfully they are few and are usually policed by their peers.

    But, I will share a couple of tidbits about Vilas County ordinances.

    In the area there are some excellent paved bicycle trails that run along the highways. Motor vehicles are prohibited from these trails - period. Don't get confused and get on a trail.

    Snowmobile trails are closed to all wheeled vehicles between December 1 and April 15th each year.

    They have a noise ordinance about unnecessary and annoying noise that includes:

    Unnecessary and annoying noises include
    without limitation: squealing or spinning of
    tires; excessive acceleration or revving of
    engine; emitting loud and unnecessary muffler​
    noises; unnecessary horn blowing
    #6
  7. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks, local information is great to have!

    I passed A LOT of campgrounds along the route and was thinking that since the route is largely a loop, one could camp at any of the great State Forest Campgrounds along the way and join the track anywhere. I was going to waypoint them but there were so many it might have turned into map clutter in the GPS file. :lol3 I notice that the web link to NHAL has maps and campground info on it so I left it off.

    What a great place to ride! :thumb
    #7
  8. HodakaD

    HodakaD Adventurer

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    I had a lot of fun on this ride. I don't consider myself to be the most experienced rider and certainly felt challenged in some of the looser sand and gravel. I think the route would be challenging to a more experienced rider by going faster than I would. I feel that this route can be as challenging as you want to make it for yourself. There was a lot of nice scenery with different forest types and various lakes to go past. It was never a problem finding fuel when I needed it either.

    I appreciate you posting the invitation to ride the trail with you Cannonshot and had a great time, thanks.
    #8
  9. mogwai

    mogwai humorless prick

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    Thanks for riding RIGHT past the farm without even stopping for a drink. :bluduh

    Neat trek, though. :deal
    #9
  10. gettr

    gettr What not to do..

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    Cannon, please email me that track! I'm heading up there in 2 weeks, I'm gonna get about a day and a half to ride... this will be perfect to get a couple of loops in... Old 51 and 51 is very close to the in-laws.

    Thanks,
    Dennis
    #10
  11. Skinner

    Skinner Mr.KTM

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    Bryan, good job once again! You are a true advocate for our sport!:clap
    #11
  12. tedmarshall

    tedmarshall Been here awhile

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    Thanks Bryan.

    Planning to take my two teens on this. :norton

    Ted
    #12
  13. freeflow

    freeflow get in or go in Supporter

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    Bryan, of course I'll add this track to my cannonshot track collection. email me please.:thumb

    I didn't see it uploaded anywhere yet
    #13
  14. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Glad you could make the ride. Had a lot of fun scouting this thing. Thanks for making the trip!

    I thought about it, but it was getting late and I didn't want to intrude. On the other hand, you could have come along for the ride . . .:D


    You probably enjoy this but will find it a little milder than the Trek. Have fun!

    Thanks Jim. Giving back in retirement.

    A great ride for a family group. Very scenic. The boys should enjoy the two-tracks.

    I haven't been able to upload a track since the changeover changed things in GPS Central. (Causes a lot of extra effort to answer requests one by one, but no big deal.) This would be a nice ride for you and Shel.
    #14
  15. jsrider

    jsrider Long timer

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    From your photos this looks like a fabulous ride! Thanks for putting together the route.
    #15
  16. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Got a report from one of the locals who was out on the trail today. Said some people are riding it. He saw a couple of new tracks and passed a dual sporter when he was out there. Anyone we know?
    #16
  17. BayWindow

    BayWindow Adventurer

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    Wow! That looks like a great place to ride. Some of the pictures even showed some great areas to take a rest on a winding corner.:rofl

    You put so much into making every one elses rides so much better.

    Thanks, Gorbie:clap
    #17
  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Hi Gorbie! How are things in Canada? Ribs all healed?

    Heading back up to the UP this weekend to proof two new tracks in the west central UP. One track takes in "Gorbie's Corner". I'll remember to take that slow. :lol3
    #18
  19. vcrider

    vcrider RHHF

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    Looks like you found some of the good routes! Like last year, I will be willing to guide a group or two on a more off road ride. Those who rode with me last year know what you are in for!
    I have got some other locals that I have been ridin with that may be available to take a group as well. Looking forward to this weekend. Can't wait!

    Bikemike
    #19
  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Hi Mike!

    Too bad we couldn't connect. Might be back to record some more, not sure of my schedule for the rest of the season yet. Next time I'll try to give you more notice.
    #20