It seems to be a flush when it comes to what people desire regarding restrooms in Washington County parks.
The survey results were shared Wednesday at the County Planning, Conservation and Parks Committee meeting.
More than 600 people weighed in on the restroom preference questions on the survey. Two-thirds of the respondents (66 percent) indicated that having a heated restroom doesn’t play into their decisionmaking process in choosing a park.
However, more than half (54 percent) said it was either somewhat or very important to have access to a heated flush restroom with running water during their visit.
A question that asked which park or parks would benefit more from a heated flush restroom — if the county were to build one — generated a response that more than half the people taking the survey felt the portable toilets were sufficient, but if an upscale facility were to be built, the top park for it would be Heritage Trails.
Almost three-quarters of responders were in favor of the county investing in additional countywide trails, similar to the Eisenbahn State Trail, with most indicating new trails should connect cities and villages throughout the county.
Ninety-two percent also believed the parks are important to the quality of life in Washington County. The survey also generated a couple of “Top Ten” lists.
In a list of most often visited county park system facilities, the Eisenbahn State Trail ranks as number one, with Ridge Run, Glacier Hills, Sandy Knoll, Ackerman’s Grove, Washington County Golf Course, Homestead Hollow, Heritage Trails, Leonard J. Yahr, and Lizard Mound rounding out the rankings.
Walking, running and jogging, followed by hiking, biking and simply relaxing were listed as the most popular activities in the parks.
The most requested recreational activities or amenities to be added include more bike trails in the top spot, followed by lookout towers, trail signage, additional benches along trails, dog parks, pet waste stations especially along the Eisenbahn Trail, mountain biking, disc golf courses and a nature center.
The survey also allowed for written comments and many people left notes of thanks for the current parks system, saying they were safe, clean and well-maintained. There were some suggesting for additions like dog parks, horseback riding trails, overnight camping and hunting.
More men than women took the survey, 57 percent to 43 percent. The average age range of those who responded was 46-55 at 24 percent, followed by 36-45, at 21 percent.
“I was surprised that 66 percent said that heated restrooms didn’t figure in their choice of a park,” said County Supervisor Ray Heidtke, town of Jackson, a member of the Planning, Conservation and Parks Committee said after Wednesday’s meeting.
“I think the survey was a good idea to help us find out for ourselves the public’s perceptions of our parks,” said County Supervisor and committee chairman Michael Miller of West Bend. “I was surprised to find that the Eisenbahn was the most used versus other parks.”