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August 17, 2019

6/15/2019 7:30:00 AM
Oneida County Solid Waste Department still looking for demolition site
Department decides to stay clear of Washburn Lake Silent Trails Area
Jacob Friede
Of The Lakeland Times

The search will continue for a future solid waste demolition site in Oneida County.

At last week's Oneida County Forestry, Land, and Recreation Committee meeting, chairman Jack Sorensen reported the Oneida County Solid Waste Department is no longer seeking the committee's approval to use a parcel of land in the Washburn Lake Silent Sports Trails Area. They are instead looking at other options.

The development is the result of a decade-old designation of the land as a silent trails area.

"It was officially designated as a silent trails area in 2008," said assistant forestry director Paul Fiene, who further explained such status was given back then in order to officially re-route a county snowmobile trail which once ran through it.

"That was the impetus of the designation so we could get that snowmobile trail out of the ski trail area," Fiene said. "If you think about it they're not real compatible uses of an area, when you got a 60 mph vehicle versus a five mph skier."

In order to avoid imposing upon the Washburn silent trail's official status, the solid waste department has decided to search elsewhere for waste demolition.

This news came as a relief to members of the Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association (RASTA), who build and maintain county silent sport trails for skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, and mountain biking right next to the once proposed future dump site.

"There is so much ownership by so much blood, sweat and tears that have gone into those trails," RASTA member Brian Hegge said. "I don't know what would've happened and I'm just glad that the solid waste department didn't want to go down that road and battle with it."

RASTA originally formed in 2010 to build and maintain county mountain biking trails in the Washburn Trails area, but over the years, and at the county's request, the group has taken stewardship of the county ski trails as well.

The formerly proposed Washburn silent trails site, which was east of Trout Creek Road and just north of Perch Lake, was considered for waste demolition because of its natural 30-foot depression, which would have demanded little excavation. It was also in ideal proximity to the current landfill and scale office.

This is the second time this year the solid waste department has had to change its plans. In March, a waste demolition site was proposed and actually approved to be built at a location just north of the current scale office. However, nearby homeowners, who were not consulted before the approval, objected to the noise and pollution that a dump would have brought.

RASTA had similar complaints about the Washburn silent trails site and in order to avoid future conflicts of interest with the organization Sorensen said the county will strive to keep them in the loop, from the beginning, on any demolition site planning.

"Once they start designating some other potential dump sites, that will become hopefully part of our long range plans, so you folks will know as you are building trails where our future landfill sites are going to be," he said.

Hegge, who praised the relationship between RASTA and the county, was appreciative of their stance and stressed how important it is for RASTA to know where future dump sites will be so they can build trails accordingly.

"One of the biggest things that we have challenges with when we invest time and money is that the land is available and doesn't change," Hegge said. "It's all about recreational opportunities and making the community better and its really good to have the support of you guys when we move forward."

According to solid waste director Lisa Jolin, the department now has its eyes on a new location for the next waste demolition site.

"Solid waste is in the early stages of considering another location that is not located in the Forestry's designated silent sports area and is just north of the current Oneida County landfill property," she said.

She also said the current landfill will likely reach capacity this fall in late September or early October.

Jacob Friede may be reached at or

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