BY RICH PALZEWIC
It’s important for any area to have ample opportunities for young and old in the form of recreation.
I feel the village of Howard – northwest suburb of Green Bay – that I live in does a great job of this! Off the top of my head, I can think of a half-dozen parks, fully equipped with soccer fields, ball diamonds and walking trails.
There’s also the Mountain Bay State Trail (MBST) that starts in the village and ends 83 miles later in Weston, Wisconsin. I also play disc golf nearby on three separate courses. If you want to regular golf, we have that, too!
Within a 1 to 4-mile jaunt from my house, all of these neat opportunities abound!
A short time ago my daughter Francesca and I discovered another gem. We had gone to the start of the MBST because there’s an area about a quarter-mile from the start where you can go right down by a creek. In the past we’ve actually crossed the creek and gone up the other side of the bank; but this time when we got there, there were “no trespassing” signs in the area.
It perked my interest, so upon leaving we headed a different way home and found the Duck Creek Quarry swimming area! I had heard talk about the village turning it into a feasible area to swim, but even I was impressed with what I saw! The beach was full of adults and school-aged kids on a nice, hot day. We stayed for about 30 minutes on that occasion, but have been back several times since. One of our favorite things to do is ride the MBST from near the house, spend some time at the quarry and then head back. It’s a multisport-activity day!
What follows is a story that appeared in The Press about the quarry. It’s by the editor, Ben Rodgers.
The village of Howard hopes to put the finishing touches on the Duck Creek Quarry by the Fourth of July.
Village staff has been at work since last fall, when time allowed, to work on the excavation of fill material to create two swimming areas with water access.
The area currently open on the southeast side has a ledge followed by a steep drop off, and is for experienced swimmers, said Paul Evert, village administrator.
On the southwest side, the village is using the former truck path into the quarry to create a swimming area for families. That area will have buoys and be roped off.
This is the portion Evert hopes to have completed by the Fourth of July.
“To us, it’s a quality of life issue,” Evert said. “It gives people more recreational opportunities. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a clean place to swim in Green Bay outside of public pools. We don’t have a public pool, and this thing is 18 acres, so we kind of have a public lake in the middle of the village.”
The quarry is located on the edge of Glendale Avenue and Lakeview Drive.
The village has owned the quarry for a number of years, Evert said. It leased the quarry to a company that removed material from it, but that stopped about a decade ago. Since then it has filled with water.
Evert visited the Red Granite quarry (Redgranite, Wisconsin), which is more unregulated, to find out about rules the village could use at the Duck Creek Quarry.
“I’m not saying we’re getting everything right. I’m not saying it’s perfectly safe, but we’re looking at why this is such a problem at Red Granite,” Evert said.
The area is a swim at your own risk, there are no lifeguards, no alcohol or glass is allowed in. There is no access to the west or north ends. There is no climbing or jumping from ledges or cliffs, and no motorized boats are allowed. Fishing is catch and release only, and the quarry is open from just before sunup to just after sundown.
Aside from the second beach the village hopes to finish, the village board may approve more upgrades to the quarry.
“We had always thought we’d like to put in a boardwalk and make it a fishing area, but as we excavated out we found out there’s a wonderful in-place ledge that the quarry excavated out,” Evert said. “It’s really smooth, so we won’t have to do a lot of work there if the board decides we want to create that area.”
Evert said he would also like to have someone offer kayak lessons in the future at the quarry.
It may even be open in the winter for ice fishing or other activities.
“It just gives people a recreational opportunity and they don’t have to drive really far to get there,” he said.
I could also see bathrooms and maybe a concession area in the future.
I can say that I’m proud to be a resident of Howard and the recreational opportunities we have!
If you’re ever in the area, come check out this cool place to swim in the middle of the village!