New foot bridge installed at Chute Pond County Park near Mountain
January 7, 2022
by Eric Peterson, FOX 11 News
OCONTO COUNTY (WLUK) -- A popular attraction at a recreation site in Oconto County is nearly open for business.
Just downstream from the dam at Chute Pond County Park, a section of the Oconto River flows under the newest addition to the area.
"This bridge here leads over to the land over here that has a bunch of hiking trails for the campground. The trails lead to a popular recreational site called slippery rock. So a lot of kids enjoy that natural water slide," said Monty Brink, Oconto County Forest and Parks Administrator.
Brink says the intense storm which raced across Oconto County in July of 2019 caused the damage. The span, which was built in the 1930s, has been closed ever since. He says before the bridge could be replaced, damage reports, insurance claims, and permits, needed approval from federal, state and county governments.
"From 2019, this is the final repair," he said.
Brink says cleanup on Oconto County land is wrapping up, but the storm in the neighboring Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest covered about 150 square miles. And in the winter, snowmobilers say damage, and cleanup reveal a changed landscape.
"It just looks totally different. There's areas that used to be a narrow path through the woods, and now, it's an open, clear-cut field," said Dan Guendert, Oconto County Snowmobile Alliance President.
Guendert says logging operations continue, and riders need to slow down.
"When you get into those logging areas, respect what they're doing. That's their job," he said.
Back to the park, the bridge has been in place for about a week. Brink says so far, so good.
"They will be coming back to do the approaches here when the snow goes away, and should be up and running for May first, for camping season," he said.
Brink says the cost to build the new bridge was about $280,000. He says insurance, county funds, and federal money were used to pay for the project.
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