A campaign is under way to raise $20,012 in 2012 for the River Ridge Trail Maintenance and Development Endowment Fund.
“This whole thing is to ensure the future of the River Ridge Trail, not just as we know it now, but as more trail gets developed,” said Carol Elvery, who chairs the River Ridge Trail Committee.
During the last 20 years, the trail has grown to nearly 30 miles throughout the Waupaca area.
This year, a Friends of Waupaca Parks and Recreation group is being developed. The oversight of the River Ridge Trail will then be turned over to that group.
“We still need funds to maintain and develop new segments,” Elvery said.
Therefore, the River Ridge Trail Maintenance and Development Fund is being established this year, under the Waupaca Area Community Foundation.
The Waupaca Area Community Foundation funds, as part of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, have earned 8 percent to 10 percent annually.
Each year, half of the earnings will be returned to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to fund summer trail maintenance needs. The other half of the earnings will stay in the fund to help it grow.
She said the annual cost of maintaining the trail is between $4,500 and $5,000.
Annual expenses include woodchips, boards, posts, cedar fencing, signage, limestone screening, maps, labor and newsletter printing and mailing.
In the past, the trail committee has sought grants and donations to cover those annual expenses.
“If everyone who enjoyed the trails gave $25 or $50, we would exceed our goal,” Elvery said.
There are not any trail fees, and she said everyone has his favorite segment of the trail.
The community should have an “incredible sense of pride” in the fact that is has almost 30 miles of trail, Elvery said.
She said it is important to have places where people can get away from the stress of life – places where they can and listen to the water and spend time in nature.
“People love it for different reasons,” Elvery said of the River Ridge Trail. “Being out there is good for everybody.”
Thus far, there are more than $4,000 in pledges for the Waupaca River Ridge Trail Maintenance and Development Endowment Fund, including a $2,000 pledge from this year’s garden walk.
Those who want to make a tax-deductible donation may send it to CFFVR/River Ridge Trail Fund. P.O. Box 563, Appleton, WI 54912.
For more information, call Waupaca Parks Superintendent Russ Montgomery at 715-258-4435 or Waupaca Director of Public Works John Edlebeck at 715-258-4420.