The Friends of the Badger Trail is a non-profit corporation dedicated to supporting the Badger Trail located in southern Wisconsin. The volunteer members assure that trail visitors travel on the best maintained and operated trail possible. The Friends also provide education and appreciation of local nature, history and culture of the surrounding area.
Throughout the summer and fall, the Friends sponsor rider activities for it’s members as well as trail visitors. The 17.5 mile ride featuring the Stewart Tunnel is an annual favorite. Riders are advised to bring a light because it is dark inside the tunnel. The ride also features a scavenger hunt which is bound to excite all riders. The July event is an 80 mile night time ride. More events are always listed on the up-to-date web site http://www.friendsofbadgerstatetrail.org/.
Friends group members receive a Newsletter four times a year filled with events, activities, volunteer opportunities, and special announcements. They also receive 10% off of the purchase price of all official Badger Trail logo merchandise. Members are also eligible to vote in the election of officers. Membership runs from November 1 through October 31. The membership application is found at http://www.friendsofbadgerstatetrail.org/images/membershipform.pdf.
Bill Hauda, President of the Badge Trail Friend. He is the founder of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, chair of the Funding Committee of the Governor's Non-motorized Recreational and Transportation Trails Council, creator of GRABAAWR (GReat Annual Bicycle Adventure Along the Wisconsin River), longtime bicycle tour director and an avid rider, defender and promoter of Wisconsin's best-in-the-nation system of state trails, of which Badger is the among the most recent.
On May 12, 2015 the Badger Trail Friends Group dedicated the Monroe trailhead building. 2015 also celebrates the 15th anniversary of the creation of Badger Trail. The city of Fitchburg, where Badger intersects with four other major trails and paths, will be erecting directional signs at the confluence. Fitchburg also will be erecting additional informational historical markers along the trail, which once saw four trains a day steaming up and down the corridor carrying passengers, cattle, farm produce and goods. One marker denoting the Illinois Central depot location at what was once the “city center” of Fitchburg is already up.
The Badger State Trail travels 40 miles between Madison and the Wisconsin-Illinois border while traversing farmlands, woods, rolling hills, scenic meadows, remnant prairies, ravines, glacial topography and several small communities. Highlighting the trail is the 1,200-foot long Stewart Tunnel. The tunnel is unique because it is built on a curve and visitors cannot see the other end when first entering the tunnel. Flashlights and jackets are recommended as the tunnel is dark and cool and water from springs above can trickle onto the trail. Bikers should walk bikes through the tunnel.
The Badger Trail connects to the Capital City, Military Ridge and Sugar River state trails and the Madison bikeway system. In Madison, the Badger State Trail corridor continues into the city along the Southwest Path. At the Illinois border, the Badger State Trail connects to the Jane Addams Trail which continues to Freeport, Illinois.
The fairly level grade and smooth limestone surface make this trail suitable for bicyclists, walkers and joggers. The six-mile section between Madison and Purcell Road is surfaced with asphalt and is suitable for in-line skating. Each bicyclist or skater age 16 or older needs a Wisconsin state trail pass while using the trail.