Crow Wing County to Develop Comprehensive Recreation Trails Plan

Project Includes an Evaluation of High Conservation Value Forests


(Brainerd, MN) – The Crow Wing County Land Services Department has initiated a project to develop a comprehensive recreation trails plan for county-managed public lands.  The plan will be informed by an evaluation of potential high conservation value forests under the county’s management.


“Recreation trails are a cornerstone of outdoor activities in Crow Wing County and one of the many benefits of our public lands,” says Mark Liedl, Land Services Director for Crow Wing County.


The plan will address existing and proposed recreation trails that serve a full range of motorized and non-motorized uses, including ATV routes, equestrian trails, biking, hiking, dog-sledding, skiing, snowmobiling, and other trail based recreation types. The county had contracted with Dovetail Partners, a Minneapolis-based non-profit, to manage the plan development project.  Dovetail will also oversee the evaluation process for identifying high conservation value forests.


“As recreation interests grow and change, it is increasingly important for land managers to stay ahead of the curve with good plans, public input processes and a review of the natural resources to be protected and thoughtfully managed,” says Kathryn Fernholz, Executive Director of Dovetail Partners.


The evaluation of High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) is a component of the county’s participation in forest certification.  The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification standard includes requirements for the protection, management and monitoring of special sites, such as old-growth forests, water source protection areas, cultural or historic sites and other unique resources.


“Including the HCVF evaluation with the recreation trails planning will help reduce the risk of trails negatively impacting important conservation areas and natural resources, the evaluation also provides another opportunity for the public to help inform the county’s management activities,” says Liedl.


The full project is expected to take up to two years to complete, with the preliminary HCVF findings being shared with the public in about six months and the first draft of the recreation trail plan being released by the end of 2010.  A project website has been established and updates, meeting announcements and other project related information will be posted at the website.


“This project will take some time to complete, with us all learning a few things along the way – when it’s all said and done, we aim to have a plan that the County can be proud of and that the citizens will be happy to see implemented,” says Fernholz.




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