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Wayside Park

In 2011, Vernon County gained ownership of a new county park, called Wayside Park, as part of a four-lane highway expansion project between the communities of Viroqua and Westby. A new multi-use trail, called the Coon Prairie Trail, is 10’ wide and paved with asphalt. The path connects the communities of Viroqua and Westby, and at the same time provides a place for residents and visitors to recreate and exercise. The path provides transportation choices for people who commute between Viroqua and Westby.  Later the trail was renamed the Viroqua-Westby Multi-Use Trail.
Acceptable path uses include hiking, biking, in-line skating, jogging, and cross-country skiing . Wheelchairs, including electric wheelchairs are also allowed on the path. Other than electric wheelchairs, motorized vehicles of any kind are not allowed on the path. Equestrian use, including horseback riding and horse carriage vehicles are not allowed on the path.

The existing wayside located about halfway between Viroqua and Westby along State Hwy. 14/61/27 is now a Vernon County Park property as a condition of the path project. The park is used as a path-side park complete with restrooms, fresh water and picnic facilities. The park is no longer a motorist wayside, as vehicles from the highway do not have access to the park.

The project is a collaborative effort between the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Vernon County, the City of Viroqua, the City of Westby, Vernon Trails (private not-for-profit trails group), and the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission. In addition, much needed funding support has been pledged by Vernon Memorial Healthcare, the Coulee Region Organic Producers Pool (CROPP), Quality of Life Chiropractic Clinic of Viroqua, and Vernon Trails. The project could not have become a reality without these very generous levels of financial support.