70-Mile Trail Project Moves Forward


New Maps Now Available


Link to Phase I MapsAitkin, MN (2/15/08) – With input from hundreds of stakeholders and under the direction of a committee that has been meeting since last summer, the 70-Mile Trail Project continues to move forward in north-central Minnesota. New maps of revised trail alignments have been released.



“The project has followed a process that aims to be responsive to public input and the needs of the community,” says Brian Napstad, Aitkin County Commissioner and Committee Chair.



The project includes approximately 70 miles of new ATV/OHM recreational trail to be located in Aitkin and Itasca Counties. The project was proposed by the Land Departments in Aitkin and Itasca Counties and is supported with state funding through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.



“The committee hosted public meetings last November and has received input from hundreds of stakeholders,” says Mark Jacobs, Aitkin County Land Commissioner and Committee Member.



A summary of public comments and responses from the committee is available at the project website. ( www.70miletrail.net ) One of the goals of the project has been to take a systems approach to managing motorized recreation in the area.



“Integrating new trails with what's already on the ground will create systems that users can enjoy,” says Steve Aysta, Itasca County Forest Recreation Specialist and Committee Member.



Based on feedback from the public and preliminary environmental reviews, the committee decided at its January 29th meeting to endorse a phased approach and to prioritize a group of four proposed trails during the first phase. An additional group of trails will be reviewed and alignments will be refined so they can be developed as part of the second phase.



“Taking a phased approach offers a lot of benefits,” says Len Hardy, of the All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota, and member of the committee. “We can move forward with getting some new trails on the ground while making sure the phase two trail alignments get a closer look to address concerns that were raised from the public and during the review.”



Information and maps related to the project are available at the project website. The next meeting of the Oversight Committee is on Wednesday, February 20th at 6:00PM at the Long Lake Conservation Center in Palisade, Minnesota.




For more information, visit the project website at http://www.70MileTrail.net