DE PERE — While the Fox River State Trail that runs from Green Bay to just south of De Pere has been here for around two decades now, some residents remember what it was like when the area wasn't bike-able or walkable.
Peter Flucke is one of those residents. He's biked all over the country including riding the entire length of historic route 66. He says that when he moved to the area from the twin cities back in the 90s, he wanted more options to safely bike or walk around local communities.
"When my wife and I moved here there wasn't a single mile of recreational trail or bike line in northeast Wisconsin," said Flucke.
That's when he decided to take matters into his own hands.
"There were all kinds of opportunities for trails along the fox river trail, the abandoned railroad quarters and none of them had been taken advantage of," said Flucke.
According to the Wisconsin DNR website, the land along the Fox River State Trail has a long history that predates the rail line.
Originally, it was used by Native Americans as a footpath between villages situated along the river.
Back in the present day, Flucke says the trail is starting to show its age and they're working on a fundraiser to raise money for repairs and expansion.
He also says that the heavy usage highlights the need for expansion to the south towards Greenleaf.
"Anybody who's used the fox river trail on a nice Sunday or Saturday afternoon knows that it's getting busy," said Flucke.
Scott Steeno is the owner of Bike Hub in De Pere. He's lived in the Green Bay area for almost all of his life and has seen how the trail has brought a large increase in interest.
"We have a lot of great roads for riding around the area but a lot of people don't want to be on the road they'd rather be on a path in which there's no traffic," said Steeno.
Flucke and the rest of the Friends of the Fox River Trail are hoping to raise $300,000 in the next six months to help fund the expansion and improvement to the trail.
The total money of around $2.33 million would go towards resurfacing and repairing 10.5 miles of trail in urban areas between Green Bay and De Pere. It would also add 3.4 miles of new pavement to the Greenleaf trailhead.
The organization currently has almost $1.8 million in funds through grants and government funding.
The Green Bay Packers Foundation has also awarded a matching grant up to $50,000 dollars.
Click the link to donate to Friends of the Fox River Trail and follow along for updates.