Kick-Off Meetings Held for 70-Mile Trail Project

12/04/2007

 

More than 150 people provide input to the project

 

Aitkin, MN (12/4/07) – More than 150 people attended two kick-off meetings held November 27th and 28th for the 70-Mile Trail project. The project includes approximately 70 miles of new ATV/OHM recreational trail segments 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.

 

 

“One of the reasons the grant for the project was awarded to Itasca and Aitkin County was because of the emphasis their proposal put on public stakeholder input,” says Mary Broten, with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Trails and Waterways Division.

 

 

The proposed plan includes new trail segments that will link existing trails and create a system that totals nearly 500 miles. The kick-off meetings were held in the City of Warba in Itasca County and McGregor in Aitkin County. Participants at the meetings were invited to review the proposed trail routes and provide feedback to the project committee.

 

“The project is taking a systems approach and looking at the big picture for managing motorized recreation in the area,” says Mark Jacobs, Aitkin County Land Commissioner.

 

To help with the design and development of the project, the project oversight committee includes 19 representatives from the region. The committee members have all signed on and made a commitment to the project goals.

 

 

The goals for the project include developing a project that provides at least 70 miles of new trail with desirable destination points for users, a transparent public process for engaging communities, enhanced enforcement efforts, and an environmentally-sensitive design that addresses environmental protection via a comprehensive assessment.

 

 

The committee has also approved a contract for project coordination services withDovetail Partners, a non-profit forestry group based in Minneapolis, and Applied Ecological Services, an environmental consulting firm from Prior Lake.

 

 

“This is a dedicated bunch of people attempting to develop a state-of-the art trail system,” says Jacobs.

 

The next meeting of the Oversight Committee is on Tuesday, December 18 th at 6:00PM at the Long Lake Conservation Center in Palisade, Minnesota. The agenda will include a review of comments and input received at the Kick-Off meetings. Committee meetings are open to the public and time is reserved on the agenda for public input.

 

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