Lights being added to ski trails at Reforestation Camp

Crews place light poles along cross-country ski trails at the Brown County Reforestation Camp in Suamico, Dec. 2, 2015. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

Crews were on the move at the Brown County Reforestation Camp in Suamico Wednesday, shuttling 180 power poles into place.

"We have a 60-day window on the construction period, but we believe that we can complete that in less than the 60-day time period," said Brian Gustin of the Bay Nordic Ski Club.

The non-profit Bay Nordic Ski Club is leading the $342,000 public and private effort to install two and a half miles of lights along the trails. Ski teams from area schools are among those expected to use the park.

"When we get snow, we'll have lit ski trails so that the teams can come out after school for practices and have lit ski trails. And the general public can use the trails as well after work hours, and have safe skiing conditions at night," Gustin said.

This phase is part of a multi-stage effort at the Reforestation Camp that includes much more than just lighting the trails.

"We're looking into the future. Having snow-making equipment, extending the lighting, potential biathlon courses," said Matt Kriese, assistant director of the Brown County Park Department.

Biathlon combines cross-country skiing with target shooting. Kriese says the on-site rifle range will accommodate the sport, but the ability to make snow in the future will be a game-changer.

"That's going to provide a destination for our community," Kriese said. "Not only the lights, but then the snow. That will always be on-site. Skiers won't have to worry about traveling three hours north to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They'll have it right here in their backyard, in Suamico.

It could take two to three weeks to install all the power poles. Electricians could take another week wiring the lighting system together.

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