Comments Published on Proposed Horse Trail Expansion at Newport State Park

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) published a summary of public comments last week that it received on a proposed master plan variance to allow an expansion of equestrian trails in Newport State Park. In addition to the summary, the public can view all comments submitted.

A master plan variance is a change in management activity or use described in the master plan that is consistent with the area’s land management classification and does not constitute a change in an objective for management or public use of the area as specified in the plan. 

The 2018 Northern Lake Michigan Coastal (NLMC) Regional Master Plan authorized four to six miles of equestrian trails in a defined portion of two of the park’s management areas. In working with the local equestrian club, the department has concluded that the area initially envisioned for equestrian trails would not provide high quality experiences, in either location or distance. The proposed master plan variance would allow equestrian trails to be located throughout Management Areas 1 and 2 and increase the authorized miles of equestrian trails up to 10 miles.

A public comment period for the proposed variance ran from Aug. 16 to Sept. 16, 2023. The department received input by email, phone and letters.

The department anticipates deciding whether to move forward with this proposed variance by the end of November. It will post the decision on the DNR website at

Questions on the summary of comments or the proposed variance can be directed to John Pohlman, DNR Property Planner, at [email protected] or 608.264.6263.