Local Author Seeks Oak Leaf Trail Memories

December 2, 2017

The Oak Leaf Trail circles Milwaukee County and provides a nature escape for hikers, runners, bicyclists, and even skiers. The trail is more than 100 miles long and connects major parks such as Humboldt, South Shore, Sheridan, Warnimont, and Grant via a combination of paved trails, parkways, and roadways.

The trail became known as the Oak Leaf in 1996. Many residents remember it as the “Milwaukee 76,” which opened for the nation’s bicentennial. It was created for bicyclists. The current trail is a multi-use trail, meaning it is now open to nonbicyclists.

To find the trail, look for the Oak Leaf Trail signs, or purchase a map from area bicycle shops for approximately $6.

Gloria Rothenbueler of New Berlin rode the Oak Leaf Trail this fall in Oak Creek. —Jill Maher

Local journalist and aspiring book author Jill Maher is seeking stories from area residents, who have memories of the trail such as:

  • Multiple generations (grandparents, parents, children) who ride the trail together
  • Scout troops who have connections to the trail
  • Couples who met or got engaged on the trail
  • People who ride the entire trail each year

Maher also seeks mementos such as Milwaukee 76 signs or Milwaukee 64 patches that can be photographed. She is also seeking photos. All items will be photographed and returned to their owners.

The stories and photos will be considered for publication in a future book with the tentative title Along the Oak Leaf. Send ideas to oakleaflove@gmail.com.

Maher has piloted a podcast, Along the Oak Leaf, that is available on Spotify and also at oakleaflove.com. Local musician Jon Rouse provided music for the podcast.

The site oakleaflove.com also includes gifts for people who appreciate the Oak Leaf Trail. These include letterpress prints created at Bay View Printing and they are available at South Shore Cyclery in Cudahy. A portion of the profits will be donated to the nonprofit Park People.

Maher’s site also includes woodwork pieces from Woodsol by Kate. (Kate McSorley), a Bay View resident, who works in hardwoods like poplar, aspen, and oak. Her work is currently available at Tease Salon, 2222 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

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