Old Immigrant Trail and "Old Trail Made New**

Some park visitors may recall the heavy rains in 2007 that closed half of the trails at Wyalusing State Park.
"It had been raining for days, the ground was thoroughly saturated and then... the park received eight inches of rain in two hours!", recalls Lisa Pitzer, Park Manager. 
"The next morning the lower half of Long Valley Road going all the way to the boat landing was impassable. A "river" was running down where the road had been. The entire lower half of Long Valley Road was choked with full sized trees, rocks and mud which was two feet deep."
Since the Burlington Northern Railroad needed access to the tracks, located along the backwater, their crews came in with large equipment to clear the roadway. Eventually the lower part of the road was made passable. This fall,  culverts will be added.
Before the rains, there were four trails located along the Wisconsin Ridge Bluff: Bluff Trail, Indian Trail, Flint Ledge Trail, and Old Immigrant Trail.
Lisa set out to assess the trail damage. "As I walked along Bluff Trail there were areas where the trail just simply disappeared. It had slid down the bluff."
"While walking to Flint Ledge Trail I discovered the same thing. Ravines that had stairs for hikers were now 1-12 feet deep. Rocks as big as cars blocked the path."
Pitzer proceeded to walk along Old Immigrant trail. The original trail had been a roadway which was used by pioneers in wagons. It followed the Wisconsin River to Walnut Eddy and the Mississippi River. "I walked the entire length of the trail, and literally was up to my knees in mud. Large rocks and full sized trees blocked sections of the trail."
During the past eight years, Wyalusing State Park has been repairing, re-routing, and rebuilding the trails. Trails were built for more sustainability. 
"Although several of the old trails along the bluff and elsewhere in the park will never be rehabilitated because of the extent of the damage, we have worked hard on those areas where trails could be saved."
Sugar Maple Nature Trail, Sand Cave Trail, and Old Wagon Road Trail have all been re-opened. 
Old Immigrant Trail was opened, again, in the summer of 2015. The 2.8 mile loop begins at The Knob Shelter, on Wisconsin Ridge Campground, and continues along the Wisconsin River. It eventually climbs back up the bluff to meet Sentinel Ridge Trail.  
The new "old" trail offers hikers views from scenic bluff top ridges, mature bottom and hardwood forests and beautiful views of the Lower Wisconsin River. (View photos of Trail rebuilding)


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*Lisa Pitzer - Park Manager, Wyalusing State Park Visitor Guide Summer 2015.