Investing in the BrownstoneA Trail that Connects Us
About the Brownstone Trail
Traveling from the City of Bayfield to Port Superior, the Brownstone Trail is a popular trail among Bayfield residents and visitors. Landmark Conservancy helped establish the trail in 1996 in cooperation with private landowners who own sections of the trail. A portion of the trail has been closed due to active slumping.
Landmark Conservancy has signed an agreement to purchase adjacent, upslope property to stabilize and restore the Brownstone Trail, improve visitor experience, and protect Lake Superior. The restored trail will be located on top of the slope and will provide amazing views of the lake and Madeline Island. To address the major slumping area, we must stabilize both the lower and upper slopes. We will also be able to transform the Maki property into a welcoming community area with a trailhead.
This project will be a multi-year effort that will require significant time, resources, partner collaboration, and community support.
Phase 1 of the project will focus on the purchase of the Maki property. To achieve a stable slope angle, we need to work on the upslope property that is owned by the Maki family.
Phase 2 of the project is the restoration and stabilization of the slope and trail while creating a community space. Our goal is to restore the slope using natural materials to maintain native habitat and aesthetics. We will work with a coastal engineering firm to develop the design for the restoration. We will be working with the community using design charrettes to identify best ways to utilize the Maki property as a community recreational space.
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Over the past three years, Landmark Conservancy has been exploring solutions to bring back one of the most beloved shoreline trails in Bayfield, nestled in a community that prides itself on being an outdoor recreation destination. During this time, they have worked...
This video was funded in part through a grant from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much will the project cost?
Phase 1 – We must raise $1.2 million for Phase 1 which includes the land purchase, funds to support relocation of the Maki’s business (upon which the purchase is contingent), slope and trail designs, and required permits.
Phase 2 – While we are still working on the restoration design, we estimate $2.2 million for this part of the project. This will include site restoration and slope stabilization, as well as enhancements on the Maki property to transform it into a community recreational space. We expect to secure grant funding for a significant portion of Phase 2.
Additionally, Landmark will utilize the results from a shoreline inventory study to identify other trail needs. Landmark will work with the community to prioritize these projects over the next few years.
Will the trail be useable this summer?
Yes, most of the trail will remain open as it has been over the last few years. The trail will remain closed at the slump site for safety reasons. The entire reroute along Highway 13 will continue to be open and signed for trail users. Additionally, we will be working with the Maki family to allow safe foot passage through a section of their property, so walkers/joggers do not have to use the entire reroute. We are hoping to complete this in August, but first need to address a drainage issue near the end of S. 7th Street.
When will restoration of the slump site take place?
Restoration will take 2-3 years. Over the next year, Landmark will work with a coastal engineering firm to complete additional surveys and gather remaining data needed to inform the restoration design. Landmark will then seek federal and state permits required to work along the lakeshore. We will seek additional funds from grants for the restoration costs. Landmark anticipates restoration may begin as early as summer 2023.
What will happen to the Maki property?
To be able to stabilize the slope and lakeshore, some of the former Maki property will become part of the newly restored slope. Additionally, the Brownstone Trail will be located on the top of the slope on what was the Maki property which will provide visitors with wonderful views of Lake Superior and Madeline Island.
Community members have expressed a desire to see a more natural community space in this location such as a community park. This would provide a more aesthetically-pleasing gateway to Bayfield with some park infrastructure, a trailhead to the Brownstone Trail, improved wildlife habitat, and help protect the shoreline and water quality of Lake Superior. Landmark Conservancy will be working over the next year to understand what the property can support given its size and current condition. Landmark plans to hold design charrettes with community members as early as the summer of 2023 to gather input. The Maki family will lease back part of the property from Landmark Conservancy for up to five years as it will take them time to build on their other property.
Who will maintain the Maki property in the future?
In the near future, Landmark Conservancy will own the property and work with its community partners (the City and Town of Bayfield and Bayfield County) and volunteers to maintain the site. Long term, the property may shift to public ownership.
Landmark Conservancy is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.