More Expanded Fun Coming Soon
IN DECEMBER 2022 THE NATURAL RESOURCES BOARD APPROVED THE RIB MOUNTAIN MASTER PLAN WITH AN EXPANSION OF GRANITE PEAK
A master plan for Rib Mountain State Park was completed in 2005. In February 2015, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board authorized the department to undertake a master plan amendment process for the purpose of evaluating a potential expansion to the Granite Peak Ski Area. Although Granite Peak Ski Corporation has publicly shared its vision for expanding the ski hill area, the department believes that a potential expansion should be evaluated in the broader context of the entire park and other recreational opportunities. As a result, at their October 2019 meeting, the Board directed the department to undertake a holistic evaluation of the full range of recreational and habitat opportunities at Rib Mountain to ensure that the park continues to help support the ecological, social, and economic needs of the area.
Highlights of the Proposed Master Plan
The Rib Mountain State Park Proposed Master Plan proposes continuing much of the park’s current recreation management while expanding recreational opportunities and managing habitat for native plant and wildlife species.
This Proposed Master Plan recommends several changes to recreational opportunities at the park, with the intent of ensuring the park continues to be a year-round community and state asset. Those changes include upgrades to existing facilities, as well as adding new facilities.
Lease Area and Downhill Skiing
This RMSP Proposed Master Plan includes a proposal to increase the area leased for the downhill ski operation from 412 acres to 539 acres (GIS-derived acres). The department believes that this expansion balances the needs of the ski operation to maintain its viability with providing a diversity of recreation opportunities and protecting important natural resources. While the plan proposes authorizing an expanded lease area, implementation of an expansion would require a new lease agreement.
The proposed amended Master Plan features expansion to the East with an additional lift, parking and new base area operations with buildings and a dedicated beginner lodge. Santa would be realigned as well to offer easier access to some of the proposed beginner and learning terrain this would provide.
The expansion to the West was approved through an amended plan by the Natural Resources Board and creates four new trails along with a lift that will provide a top to bottom beginner trail as well as connecting to the Western Frontier trail. This area will also feature a new lift in the proposal and will be primarily where mountain biking in the future will take place for gravity, lift assisted riding.
A full map of the entire ski area expansion can be found here.
The RMSP Proposed Master Plan includes several proposals to expand bicycling opportunities at the park. A 12 – 20 mile mountain bike trail system is proposed. This trail system would be spread throughout the park, including potentially in the lease area, with limited trails in the proposed state natural area and Ridgetop Day Use Area (Areas 1 & 2). The mountain biking trails would include both “flow” trails and “gravity single-track” trails.
A proposed multi-purpose trail encircling the mountain would provide a non-road bicycling opportunity suitable for a broader range of skill levels than the proposed mountain bike trails. The plan also authorizes e-bike use on designated bicycle trails.
Other Recreational Activities
This plan proposes upgrading and expanding the facilities at the top of the mountain to provide improved experiences for a variety of special events. In addition, a new nature center in an expanded park entrance visitor center is proposed. This plan also proposes to develop a small campground, along with increased opportunities for climbing and bouldering. Some trails in the proposed western expansion of the ski area (Area 5) that are currently used for hiking and snowshoeing would be re-routed. Additional hiking and snowshoeing trails are also proposed.
For the full details maps, community / public comments and more visit the DNR Rib Mountain Master Plan site here.
As plans develop and operations begin for the approved expansion we'll be sure to keep you updated!