Taking care of the Ahnapee State Trail

Stretching from Sturgeon Bay to Kewaunee, the nicer weather is steering more people to the Ahnapee State Trail. Groups like the Friends of the Ahnapee Trail and county departments help keep it usable year-round for activities like snowmobiling in the winter to horseback and bicycle riding in the summer. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says with those extra people comes more responsibility, especially if you are bringing your dogs or horses.

Horseback riding is available on the Ahnapee State Trail until November while other silent sports are encouraged as long as conditions allow. You can read Sheriff Matt’s Joski’s full article about the trail online with this story.



For those of us who thrive on outdoor activities, winter presents some definite challenges, but those are all behind us now as we pull out our hiking boots, lace up our running shoes, pump up the bike tires, and prep those kayaks and canoes. One of our greatest recreational resources and probably the best kept secret in our county is the Ahnapee trail system. The many miles of improved surface (34 miles of it in Kewaunee County alone) spans the distances between our cities and villages and serves as a great way to enjoy the beauty around us while improving our personal fitness.


          During the winter months, I have been relegated to running alongside the roads and highways so I am very grateful when the time comes to transition back to “Running the Ahnapee”. Unlike most resources in this day and age, this trail system is free to use courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The trail is maintained by our own Kewaunee County Parks and Recreation Department who remove debris, trim the foliage, and even grade the surface when needed. However to preserve this amazing resource we must all share the role in adhering to some very basic rules and guidelines regarding its use.


          For those who would bring their dogs along for a healthy walk, please be aware that you must keep your dog on a leash while on the trail. This prevents potential issues when meeting other walkers or pets as well as if your dog gets the idea to chase the many species of wildlife that also share this ecosystem. Also, please make sure you pick up after your pet. It’s just common sense.


         While most know that the use of motorized vehicles is prohibited on the trail, it also serves as part of the county wide snowmobile trail system during the winter months, and we are fortunate to have the many clubs who prepare and maintain those trails not just for the snowmobilers, but also for snowshoes and cross country skiers.


         Due to the fact that the Ahnapee has been preserved for “Silent Sports” another group of users is that of the equestrians. While horseback riding is authorized on the trail, please be aware that this usage is limited and spans from April 15th to November 15th.  Even with that said; please check the condition of the trail to verify that it is in fact dry and stable enough that your horses will not damage the trail surface. Also, just as with the dog owners, you too are responsible to pick up after your pet, even if the piles may be bigger. Dodging horse piles is probably one of my biggest issues when running the trail, and I hate to have to issue a citation for something that is a matter of simple consideration.


         Just as in any community resource, it takes a group of dedicated volunteers which make it possible. As it pertains to the Ahnapee Trail we are fortunate to have the “Friends of the Ahnapee State Trail” serve as the stewards and advocates for the preservation and promotion of such a wonderful resource. For more information on how you can assist this organization please visit them at or contact the Kewaunee County Parks and Recreation Department at: (920)388-0444.

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