Rib Mountain master plan approved, promises wealth of new activities

Rib Mountain master plan
Rib Mountain master plan has been approved. (Photo by Dave Kallaway)

UPDATE: Adds information about the process received from DNR officials.

Correction: An amendment was made in the meeting expanding the western side of Granite Peak’s ski area to 63 acres, making more than 100 total acres.

Rib Mountain State Park will soon see some new and expanded sports and activities, thanks to a new Rib Mountain master plan. 

The Natural Resources Board last week voted to approve the master plan for Rib Mountain State Park. The new plan expands the Granite Peak Ski Area, would add a lot of mountain biking as well as a nature center and expands the boundaries of the park. 

The whole process started with Granite Peak asking for a revision to the master plan so they could expand their ski areas back in 2014. The plans changed several times to try to appease residents who were opposed to the expansion. That launched a group called Leave Rib Mountain Alone, which put up signs and gathered signatures. 

Then in 2019 the Department of Natural Resources decided to completely redo the master plan for the park, considering a number of new types of recreation and looking at the park as a whole. 

The process

The process, which included a lot of public input, was put on hold during the pandemic but then ramped back up. The Natural Resources Board adopting it is the final step. 

With the proposed plan approved, the DNR will finalize the plan, says Rib Mountain Natural Resources Property Supervisor Bayli Christorf.

With that done, what will be implemented when will be decided by DNR staff and groups working with the DNR (such as Central Wisconsin Off-road Cycling Coalition). The department’s Parks and Recreation Program will take the lead on the process, Christorf says. Timing and agreements will be discussed with those partner groups, Christorf told City Pages.

Rib Mountain changes coming. 

Here is a summary of the changes the new master plan offers: 

  • Increases Granite Peak Ski Area more than 100 acres, with additional ski runs on the west and east ends 
  • Adds 12-20 miles of mountain biking to various parts of the park 
  • Expands facilities at the top of the park, including the introduction of a new nature center 
  • Potential for new climbing/bouldering areas
  • Adds as much as 1,160 acres to the park’s boundaries
  • Hopes to add a corridor and trail between Rib Mountain State Park and Nine Mile County Forest
  • Possibility of increased or added hiking, cross country skiing and horseback riding 

See the complete plan on the DNR’s website.