Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin helps enhance public hiking trails

Disbursements from Norma and Stanley DeBoer Quiet Trails Fund will repair and promote trailsIMG_9083

For immediate release
March 14, 2016

Hiking trails provide direct access to Wisconsin’s public lands, but can be difficult to maintain as the result of extensive foot traffic and erosion. The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s Norma and Stanley DeBoer Quiet Trails Fund aims to help organizations create, maintain and promote public hiking trails. This year the fund disbursed nearly $4,400 to four trail projects in Wisconsin.

“These trails help directly connect people to nature, giving them an opportunity to experience our state’s beautiful natural resources in a way that is safe for people and the wilderness around them,” said Ruth Oppedahl, executive director of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. “Hiking trails are a key component of the outdoor classroom that educates all ages. These projects also help bring communities together through volunteer work and local hiking events.”

The four organizations that received funding this year are:

  • The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to add signage to the trails at Pattison State Park and to improve a bridge on the Beaver Slide Hiking Trail (Douglas County).
  • Eagle Nature Trail to repair sections of this community trail that leads from the local library to an elementary school, and to promote a public hike this summer with the library and historical society (Waukesha County).
  • Kettle Moraine Natural History Association to install interpretive signs at the trailheads and parking lots of the Scuppernong River Habitat Preservation Area that educate visitors about the significance of the ecosystem in the area (Waukesha County).
  • The Aldo Leopold Nature Center to create a path to the center’s prairie that can withstand more than 50,000 visits each year (Dane County).

“This grant will help us to create a durable, sustainable path that will provide protection against erosion and damage, while allowing us to continue to enjoy and share the land with others,” said Josh Bruecken, facilities and grounds manager for the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. “Aldo Leopold once said, ‘When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.’ As our grounds continue to see more and more visitors, it is critical to maintain that balance between man’s impact and the natural environment, creating the feeling of community we strive to achieve, and this path will allow us to do just that.”

Since its inception, the Norma and Stanley DeBoer Quiet Trails Fund has provided a total of more than $23,000 to 22 projects across the state. Foundation members Carla Butenhoff and husband Neal Butenhoff established the endowment fund in 2005 in honor of Carla’s parents, Norma and Stanley DeBoer, who loved to camp throughout the state and instilled in their children a love for Wisconsin’s state parks.

“The fund lets us honor my parents and give a little support to the volunteers and DNR employees we have to thank for Wisconsin’s beautiful quiet trails,” Carla Butenhoff said. “And, it’s fun!”

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Photo courtesy of the Aldo Leopold Nature Center

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin provides sustainable funding for Wisconsin’s most imperiled species and public lands, while helping citizens connect with our state’s unique natural places. This year marks the Foundation’s 30th year of boosting private sector support for Wisconsin’s public lands, waters and wildlife. Learn more at

Lindsay Renick Mayer
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
[email protected]
608-266-3138 (office)
202-422-4671 (cell)