Reading last week’s paper, seeing that Polk’s Supervisor Chris Nelson wants to “open up” the Stower Trail to motors is nauseating. For five years, Polk County’s most popular and fastest growing trail has endured constant attacks by Nelson, who prefers “horse power” to people on the trail.

It’s not about “opening” the Seven Lakes Trail to tourism: anyone wanting to put horse power on a State Trail in Polk County has 50 miles to do it on the Gandy Dancer, as well as the entirety of the Cattail Trail. Snowmobile maps boast hundreds of miles.

Polk’s board and it’s wrong-headed administration have already spent millions on interminable staff meetings, countless written plans, numerous public input sessions, endless responses to WDNR questions, and now, defending itself against citizen lawsuits – all trying to convert the Stower to horse power.

Five years of pursuing bad public policy ads up.

If they are ever successful, Polk County residents and its crucial revenue-generating vistors will end up dealing with our Supervisors gigantic pile of horse crap: noise, exhaust, unsafe user conflicts, lower property values – actual dung – and a trail dominated by small special interest groups at the expense of everyone else.

The pandemic has shown, more than ever, Polk County – and its largest city Amery – needs places for walking, bike riding, jogging and every way the public wants to recreate without using horse power. It’s essential: for children, the elderly, those wanting better fitness and every family that would rather go outside for fresh air and an adventure than be stuck indoors.

Wisconsin’s State Constitution says that every State Trail must be open to every citizen, every day of the year. It’s. The. Law. Why Polk County is throwing away tax money trying to reverse that, while simultaneously limiting its suite of recreational opportunities for the public, makes absolutely no sense.

Prioritizing horse power over people on the Stower is the opposite of horse sense: a policy that not only stinks: it never goes away.


Peter F. Henry

Amery, WI

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