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Local organization formed to sustain nature and development

By Staff
Thomas Tingle
Record Managing Editor
Its mission is to enrich the community by facilitating the creation of a network of public trails and greenways.
Among its goals is to promote the important contribution of greenways and trails to the quality of life within Madison and to provide educational-based environmental programs for the public.
Members of the newly formed Madison Greenway &Trails Inc. wants residents in the community to join along with them in the effort to make Madison a progressive, green-thinking city that can sustain both nature and development.
Madison Greenway &Trails is a non-profit organization of an all-volunteer board, officers and committees. Allison Wheeler, president of the organization, said it is a follow-on effort to the city's Greenways Task Force, which presented a Greenways Master Plan to the Madison Planning and Zoning Board in January 2002 for adoption into the city's Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
"From there, we got together with City Councilman Bob Wagner, Madison's Planning and Zoning Commission and the legal departments to discuss the next steps to make the greenways a reality," said Nat Berry, vice president of the organization.
"Madison Greenway &Trails Inc. was officially incorporated this past January as an organization," Wheeler said. "The group will be working very closely with the city to implement the Greenways Master Plan."
Wheeler said as the city of Madison continues to grow, the organization was created to plan for and facilitate the development, implementation and maintenance of a greenway and trails network in Madison and areas beyond for recreation and alternative transportation.
"We want to secure and preserve public access to land required for the greenway and trails network and we want to facilitate the preservation and restoration of natural areas and resources which are connected to the greenway and trails network," Wheeler said.
"We also want to secure and preserve public access to historically significant sites as well," Berry said.
The city of Madison approved $3,600 as start-up funds for the organization. Wheeler said since members of the organization are volunteers; all of the funds acquired will be used to promote, build, and maintain the system. Fundraising and grant writing will be an important task of the group.
"A lot of people who live here in Madison don't realize the beautiful natural areas we have here in our city. Rainbow Mountain in particular is full of beautiful sites, including trails and pathways," Berry said.
A brochure has been created by the organization. It includes membership information and additional notes about the group. A public event will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 22 (Earth Day) at City Hall. There, the community will be shown some of the plans that will be implemented by the group, as well as what has already been accomplished.
"We will be working closely with the city in the development of the greenways. We also welcome anyone who has an interest in our efforts," Wheeler said.
For more information about the Madison Greenway and Trails organization, call Allison Wheeler at 721-0556. A Web site has also been created at http://MadisonGreenways.org.

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