As I reflect on the year gone by, by far the biggest story of the year has
been the Covid 19 virus. The affect that the virus has had on outdoor
recreation has increased the importance of our ORA Trails mission to provide
great new trails.
I hope you have had the opportunity to hike or bike the recently opened
Gateway Trails atop Grandad Bluff< <https://www.oratrails.org/gateway/>
https://www.oratrails.org/gateway/> made possible by ORA Trails and La
Crosse Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department. ORA Trails helped design,
build, and then raise $400,000 in private donations to hire the very best
contractors to build the Grandad Bluff Trails. We supplemented our
fundraising efforts with 2,000 hours of volunteer time from 317 enthusiastic
volunteers. Our new trail system is the ultimate community effort converting
160 acres of mostly unused park land in the heart of our city, into an
incredible outdoor recreation area that provides families and their children
a place to play safely together, stay active, and have fun hiking and biking
in the woods.
We are very excited about the year to come:
* We are working closely with La Crosse Parks, Recreation, and
Forestry and surrounding communities to add to the trail systems in the
greater La Crosse area. We are talking with Shelby and Onalaska about
extending the trails outward from Grandad Bluff to points north and south.
* We have a new Executive Director- Jed Olson, a person likely
known to most of you. We were very fortunate to have Jed take on this role.
Expect awesome things to come! We have also hired Jillian Olson as our
Operations Coordinator. They both join Liz Reardon, our Administrative
Coordinator to form our ORA management team. A great day for ORA!
* A hugely successful Giving Tuesday fundraising event yielded
over $130,000 in funding for ORA Trails and Operations. With this funding we
will be able to pursue the development of many of the trail concepts
envisioned by our team.
We thank you for your support of ORA Trails. It is the wonderful community
backing we receive that allows us to grow, that allows us to follow our
mission of creating more trails. From vision, design, gaining approvals,
implementation to ‘ WOW, what a great trail!’ it is you who make it