Updated: Mud Run Park Location Shows Promising Landscape
By Jacob Mathias
Members of the community and Portage County Parks Commission Mud Run Subcommittee gathered at the Wisconsin RiverRecreationalCenter, the proposed site for the permanent mud run obstacle course, to discuss development opportunities at the site.
“I think the ground looks great. Nice big open space,” said Robert Kehoe, UW-Stevens Point ROTC Training Officer.
According to Jeff Presley, Portage County Parks Commissioner, the size and varying topography of the park create an ideal location for the mud run course.
Numerous hills and pre-existing trails run the length of the 82 acre park which is now managed as a public fishing and hunting area. The west side of the park drops steeply to river bottoms creating natural obstacles for the course which would decrease construction costs.
“The next step is to take advantage of that topography and figure out a course,” said Presley.
The ROTC is volunteering help to engineer and construct obstacles for the course should the project be approved. Their closest obstacle negotiation course is Fort McCoy.
“It’s a lot more convenient for us,” said Kehoe.
Various committee and community members identified issues with using the park including a lack of electric power, parking and environment issues such as erosion coming from people running on the hills. Presley said that he expects these problems to raise few obstacles in the way of finishing the park.
“Obviously we want to protect the river and anything that would roll of into there,” said Presley. “You build barriers to it.”
“I’m concerned with the environmental aspects. Those need to be addressed when the plan is being developed,” said Gary Speckmann, Portage County Parks Director.
“I’ll protect the site to make sure it doesn’t get de-graded, doesn’t cost the department labor repairs and doesn’t cost the County money for repairs.”
The parking lot at the park is very small and won’t be able accommodate a mud run event. Presley said he is still waiting on word from the Township of Dewey on whether or not parking on the town’s roads would be allowed.
“The power issue, at least for now vendors can bring generators,” said Presley.
The only real issue Presley foresaw regarding electricity was power needed for entertainment such as a band which is often featured at a mud run event.
There are power lines nearby the park which could be drawn off of if needed.
“That could be a long term thing too as a capital expense,” said Presley.