LETTER: MnDOT’s detour for Hwy. 34 is ill-conceived
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Park Rapids Enterprise by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Park Rapids Enterprise. To submit a letter, email email@example.com or mail it to Park Rapids Enterprise, 1011 1st. ST. E., Suite 6, Park Rapids, MN 56470.
For the past 18 months or so, hundreds of Hubbard and Becker County residents tried repeatedly to have our voices heard by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) regarding the damage to the scenic beauty of State Hwy. 34.
MnDOT claims our input was recorded, considered and our voices were heard.
The detour map released this week demonstrates just how false their claims are. I raised the detour issue repeatedly in-person at their “public” meeting, via online comments submitted to their website, at their open house and in letters to the editor as early as Jan. 2022.
There are at least 3,355 Becker County residents living northeast of the junction of Hwy. 34 and Cty. 29 (“Four Corners”) and thousands more who commute daily between Park Rapids and Detroit Lakes.
MnDOT’s proposed detour for us and the seasonal property owners is a southern route from Osage through Wolf Lake to Frazee and then north to Four Corners. That’s it. One detour, no northern alternative. Good luck getting to resorts and restaurants on Cotton, Island or Many Points Lakes.
Most of the locals know which back roads will get us home or to the businesses and farms north and west of Hwy. 34. Summer tourists are a different story. MnDOT seems hell bent on destroying the tourism that our county depends on by failing to provide any kind of detour to the north.
The only good news is that hordes of lost tourists will find undisturbed beauty in the Smoky Hills, Tamarac Refuge or many of the other gravel roads MnDOT can’t destroy.
MnDOT’s lack of planning comes as no surprise; it’s just the latest disappointment in an ill-conceived and disrespectful plan.