Heated shelter in the works for Zillmer Ski Trail
Groomed for both skating and striding, the terrain and layout are ideal for skiers of all abilities. The inner rolling loops are perfect for young families and beginners, and those looking for a leisurely outing without a lot of big hills. Nevertheless, those loops are not boring, with several fun but safe downhills. On the other hand, the outer loop has plenty of tough climbs and some screaming downhills that border on wild when conditions get icy. So it's a trail system that has something for everyone.
And it's about to get better. Plans are in the works for a heated shelter at the south trailhead off County Road SS.
Sadly, it took a tragedy to get this project started. About two years ago, 54-year-old Michael Krueger, an avid hunter from Campbellsport, Wisconsin, suffered a massive heart attack while upland bird hunting. When Krueger's family and friends looked into setting up a memorial for Krueger, improving Zillmer was a natural selection. Krueger had long been a member of the Friends of the North Kettle Moraine. For 20 years he helped the friends group hold an annual candlelight ski on the Zillmer trails. In the words of one participant, "Many times we froze our butts." So a warming hut seemed a fitting memorial.
The project was started with a $5,000 donation from Krueger's family and friends. This money was quickly matched by the North Kettle Friends group. Then that $10,000 was matched by a stewardship grant through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. A warming hut has long been in the master plan for the property.
While this is not enough to complete the project, it is an impressive start. The building is planned to be about the same size as the one in Greenbush. Although it will serve as a warming hut for skiers, plans are in works to rent the facility for group parties, making it a year-round facility. At the very least, it will be used for the annual candlelight ski outing. Construction is expected to start next summer.
As it is, there is enough money in the kitty to complete an open-air building. Hopefully, sufficient donations will come in to complete the entire heated hut in one stage. Donations can be made in the form of in-kind services, such as Jim Weiland, of Weiland Excavating, a friend of Krueger, made by prepping and grading the site.
If you'd like to help, you can mail your donation to the Friends of the North Kettle Moraine, P.O. Box 143, Campbellsport, WI 53010.
When the project is completed, Zillmer will further cement standing as an ideal trail for skiers of all ages, especially families with small children. Fantastic grooming, terrain for all abilities and a place to keep warm. Who could ask for more?
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