LETTER TO EDITOR: Support, volunteers welcome for Heartland Spur Trail project
Recently, the Enterprise wrote of the proposed Heartland Spur State Trail, an extension of the Heartland State Trail. This would be a multi-use, paved trail for bicyclists, snowmobilers, walkers, runners, birders and in-line skaters with minimal to no impact on current uses.
From the existing trail's crossing of County Road 4, the projected trail will run along
the road's shoulder to Emmaville then cross county, tax-forfeited land to Itasca State Park. The trail is considered a destination trail in the DNR Division of Parks and Trails latest system management plan. The trail is expected to get a high level of public use, and thus should get the DNR's highest level of investment and support.
Safety is a major motive for the trail, due to heavy traffic, narrow shoulders and rumble bars found on Highway 71 to the park. The route will primarily be on county land(84.9 percent of the trail) and DNR land (9.7 percent).
The Spur Trail will also connect the major tourism areas of Park Rapids, Itasca State Park, Bemidji, Cass Lake, Walker, Pine River, Pequot Lakes and Brainerd — more than 200 total miles of trails).
Currently, a DNR engineer is examining the proposed route from Itasca to Emmaville and hopes to use LiDAR (3D-laser scanning) to get an accurate reading. Once the preliminary engineering study has been completed, it is suitable to ask for state bonding in the near future. We would be asking for your support for the bill. The Spur Trail will be built in segments.
The current citizen group has been working 10 years for a safe, scenic route. It is made up of cyclists, snowmobilers, hunters, two county commissioners, county land staff, and receives guidance from DNR staff. We generally meet bi-monthly, the second Monday of the month at 10 a.m. in the conference room of the Hubbard County Public Works building, 101 Crocus Hill Street. The next meeting is Monday, May 13, and all are welcome. The meeting times are also listed in the Enterprise prior to the meetings.