A photo contest is under way to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Wisconsin’s Rustic Roads program.
The state departments of transportation and tourism are sponsoring the contest through Dec. 31 to highlight one of Wisconsin’s most successful and longest-lasting state and local partnerships.
The contest, which began June 16, is open to amateur photographers ages 18 and up. A person can submit up to six photos that highlight various qualities, features and views found on Rustic Roads.
“We encourage people to explore Wisconsin Rustic Roads, no matter what the season,” state transportation secretary Mark Gottlieb said. “We are proud of the program’s 40-year history and pleased to see Rustic Roads in the statewide spotlight this year.”
Waupaca County is home to three Rustic Roads, while Waushara and Outagamie counties have two and Portage, Winnebago and Shawano counties have one each.
• Rustic Road 23: R-23 begins in Rural and follows Rural Road for 3.6 miles to Hartman Creek Road. The road crosses the Crystal River three times in Rural over picturesque stone bridges and offers vistas of agricultural and forest areas.
• Rustic Road 24: R-24 follows Emmons Creek Road west from Rural Road to the Portage County line. The 2.7-mile-long road crosses a spring-fed trout stream and passes through several stands of native pine and hardwoods.
• Rustic Road 57: R-57 follows South Foley and Town Line road for 4.1 miles between U.S. Highway 10 and State Highway 54. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail follows the route and a log house used by hikers is located along the South Foley Road segment.
The road’s features include rolling hills and an arch of trees over the road at two points. Deep ravines directly off the road are accented with ferns and a variety of wildflowers. Bluebirds and other wild song birds are regular visitors to the large apple orchard along both sides of South Foley Road. The Waupaca River flows along a portion of the road and the river’s rapids can be heard at the Cobbtown Road bridge.
• Rustic Road 48: R-48 follows 2.1 miles of 26th Road between County Trunk H and County Trunk W. The road curves among rolling hills, typical of the ground moraines found in Wisconsin’s central plains region. R-48 passes through the valley of the Pine River, a Class 2 trout stream.
Much of the agricultural land and fallow fields found along this route support ring-necked pheasants, sandhill cranes, deer, red fox, beaver, otter and a wide variety of songbirds. A log cabin and two farmhouses, built before the Civil War on 160-acre Homestead Act grants, are also visible.
• Rustic Road 102: R-102 follows Cumberland Avenue and 7th Drive, forming a 2.2-mile-long loop off of State Highway 21. R-102 features roadside panoramas of native trees, prairies and dense woods that form a canopy in the spring and summer that turns golden in the autumn. T
he forest and field mix supports a multitude of wildlife, including deer, red fox, pheasants, sandhill cranes, short-eared owls and many songbirds. Wildflowers such as wild geraniums, Solomon’s seal and wild asparagus are abundant and Amish buggies are a common sight. The route offers access to the Mecan River segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
• Rustic Road 53: R-53 follows portions of Garrity, McCabe, Greiner and Bodde roads for 4.1 miles between U.S. Highway 41 and County Trunk JJ. R-53 is located in one of the richest agricultural areas in the Fox River Valley. Visitors will find a double-arch bridge, an old schoolhouse which serves as a town hall, a century farm, an old stone silo, Apple Creek and a resource conservation area abundant with wildlife. Construction of the road dates back to 1857.
• Rustic Road 61: R-61 follows County Trunk MM for 3.3 miles between County Trunk M and State Highway 76. This route offers a combination of historic and scenic features. Several wooded areas, wetlands and agricultural uses can be found along the road, which crosses several streams and stretches along several wetland areas that are part of the Wolf River watershed. Several large white pines can be spotted along this road, often in combination with large stands of trees.
• Rustic Road 17: R-17 follows Otto Road for 2.7 miles from U.S. Highway 10 to Morgan Road, then south to County Trunk T. This scenic route south of Amherst passes through hilly, rugged terrain, forests and fields, offering glimpses of native wildlife. R-17 also crosses a boulder-strewn section of the Tomorrow River.
• Rustic Road 72: R-72 follows Mountain Road for 3.1 miles and begins and ends on County Trunk M. It offers opportunities for wildlife and wildflower viewing in a serene setting. Mountain Road passes through the middle of 270 acres owned by the Nature Conservancy and is home to many birds, including sandhill cranes, short-eared owls, northern bobwhite, quail and pheasants. The traveler will encounter an abundance of wildflowers bordering the roadway, including may apple, trillium, Canada anemone, wild geraniums, Solomon’s seal, wild roses and goldenrod.
• Rustic Road 47: R-47 follows County M for 14 miles between County Trunk Q and U.S. Highway 45. The route features open agricultural vistas against a backdrop of wooded hills. Historic buildings include a round barn, red granite town hall and stone filling station. The road crosses two streams and passes conifer glens, wetland vegetation and rolling fields. County M also passes the Tigerton Historical Museum and the Wittenberg Historical Museum.
Rustic Road Board members will select the contest winners and announce the winners this fall. All submitted photos can potentially be used as part of Rustic Roads promotional efforts, including Web sites and booklets. Award-winning photographers will receive a commemorative plaque.
The contest’s six categories are Most Scenic View; Best Complementary Manmade Feature (barn, fence, house, etc.); Best Wildlife or Wildflowers; Best Action Shot (hiking, biking, horseback riding, etc.); Best Photo Incorporating Modes of Transport (cars, motorcycles, etc.); and Most Artistic Photo or Composition (use of light, shadows or angles).
Submission guidelines, a contest entry form and a complete list of the state’s 115 Rustic Roads can be found at www.dot.state.wi.us/travel/scenic/rusticroads.htm