Advocacy for People-Powered Recreation

Stower Seven Lakes State Trail
Court Case Update

We are pleased to announce that a court decision has been made this past summer (2023) regarding the issue of snowmobile and horseback usage of the trail.  Polk County Circuit Judge Edward Vlack ruled that Polk County’s previous actions in allowing mixed use of the trail conflicted with its mandate to “provide recreational opportunities that complement present trail opportunities and provide recreational opportunities that are underrepresented in the Polk County Trail system.”   See the "Stower Seven Lakes State Trail Update" article at the website.  Unfortunately, the saga may not yet be over, since the Polk County is considering appealing the court decision.  Therefore we ask that everyone interested in keeping the trail safe for people-powered recreation activities must continue to advocate the Polk County commissioners to do what is right for the bikers, hikers, and skiers that desire a safe corridor to persue their activities.

Need for Continued Advocacy

The Friends of Stower Seven Lake State Trail’s focus and mission is to promote people-powered recreation.   We must be continuously vigilant for competing interests, which may not be compatible with people-powered recreation activities, that would also want to make use of the trail.  "The Friends" have always striven to keep in contact with the governing entities that make decisions on the use of trails as well as with the entities that develop long-term plans for the development and upkeep of our trails.

Currently (beginning in 2022 and continuing into 2023) the 'Friends of Stower' are involved in a restraining order suit against Polk County for a decision they made to allow the use of snowmobiles and equestrians on the trail, see "Stower Seven Lakes Trail Master Planning Project" at the website.  As of early-2023, a St. Croix County Circuit judge had not issued a ruling on the requested restraining order.  For a more thorough description of this matter, see the "Stower Seven Lakes State Trail saga continues" article at the website.

Along a similar vein, currently (early-2023) Polk County is undertaking a Feasibility Study to determine how to develop routes for ATV/UTV’s and equestrians on or along the Gandy Dancer Trail, thereby connecting the City of St Croix Falls on the south end with Burnett County at the north end.  The outcome of this Feasibility Study will likely have impacts at some point in time on the fate  of the Stower Seven Lake State Trail.  For more detailed information about this study, see the "Gandy Dancer Feasibility Study" article at the website.

If you are a resident of Polk County, please reach out to your County Supervisor and let them know your concerns about keeping our rail-trails safe for People-Powered Recreation.  Find your County Supervisor’s contact information here.