At Crossroads, conflict over trail use has been a problem, second only to meager snow, for more than twenty years. Skiers are justifiably dismayed when hikers walk on and destroy groomed ski trails.
Hikers complain that the skiers have had three times as many designated trails, that the ski trails traverse more interesting terrains, and that the hiking trails pass through brutally windy open areas.
Trail segregation is the answer. This summer and fall, Crossroads Land and Facilities Manager Rich Propsom ( with help from Friends of Crossroads) has created two different trail systems….one for those that ski; the other, Multi-Use. While there are a few places–bridges and intersections– where the systems overlap, most of the trails are completely separate. And destination points, such as our Council Ring, can be reached by either trail system.
This trail expansion was funded, in part, with a grant from the Door County Medical Center.
The first stage of this trail expansion was the removal of acres of invasive species, relocation of boulders, and some sculpting of the land. Besides the obvious benefits of taking out non-native plants, the work revealed a rock ledge and opened up stunning vistas of the Big Creek Valley. The new ski trail will circle this area, offering interesting scenery for our skiers.
And to accommodate other trail users, existing foot trails have been enhanced and a number new trails have been cut through a variety of woodland habits. These new trails are both beautiful and wind sheltered.
During this usually balmy November, it’s hard to even think about winter, but it will come. Once we have useful (enough to create a base) snow, the designated ski trails at our Big Creek Preserve will be groomed for classical and skate skiing. We will not be grooming trails at The Cove and Ida Bay preserves, but those trails are open for all uses.
Trails at our three preserves are free and open to the public 24-7. Try a moonlight hike or ski after snow has blanketed our forests and meadows. Magical!
Our winter equipment loan program will start. Ski for Free is sponsored by Friends of Crossroads and the Silent Sports Alliance will start one the trails are groomed. When snow is adequate, equipment will be available, free of charge, on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 1:00-3:30.
This week, sets of new skis, boots and poles arrived at our Ski Distribution Center–a.k.a. The Maintenance Building. This year, new winter recreation equipment was with the proceeds of the Crossroads Trail Run.
Who can borrow skis and snowshoes from Ski For Free? Absolutely everybody. Crossroads does not discriminate for any reason.
Crossroads at Big Creek is an educational facility comprised of the Big Creek Preserve, The Cove Preserve, and the Ida Bay Preserve. The Collins Learning Center, located at 2041 Michigan, just east of the highway roundabout in Sturgeon Bay, is open 2:00-4:00. Because our properties are within city limits, hunting is not permitted. Trails are open and free.