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Legacy grant approved for single track mountain bike trail

Dec 22, 2017 06:07AM ● By Editor
By Brian Larsen from the Cook County News Herald - December 22, 2017

As presented by Cook County Land Commissioner/ Parks and Trails Director Lisa Kerr, commissioners approved authorization of a Minnesota Legacy Grant contract with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for funding to build a mountain bike trail system.

The vote came at the board’s December 19 meeting.

The Legacy grant is for $278,000. Those funds will be used to help build a 15.9- mile single track mountain bike trail from Britton Peak to Lutsen Mountains.

The total estimated cost to build the trail is $465,500, but there are other sources of money to help pay for the project, said Tim Kennedy, who is president of the Superior Cycling Association (SCA).

“The county also received about $178,000 from a Federal Recreational Trail Program grant, $20,000 from Lifetime Fitness, $10,000 from the Lutsen/Tofte Tourism Association and SCA contributed $7,000 to $8,000,” he said.

“We still need to find more money,” Kennedy said. “When finished the trail will probably be more like 17 to 18 miles long. Every little wiggle and corner is measured with a tape measure to get an accurate distance. All of our single track trails are longer than we thought they would be when they were measured at the end of the trail building.”

Kennedy, who sits on the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission that recommends legacy projects to counties located outside the seven-county metropolitan area, said the county has already submitted advertisements to find a contractor to build the trail. Hopefully, he said, work could begin as soon as mid-summer. “Depending upon the size of the crew we get, the work could get done next year,” he added.

Three years ago the Superior Cycling Association hired the ARDC to help prepare a master plan for the trail. Once the master plan was done, “We submitted it for Legacy funding and here were are. It’s pretty exciting. The trail should have some nice vistas with great views and areas where you are riding in maple forests,” Kennedy said.

The Superior Cycling Association will provide trail maintenance. Included in the application is a commitment to maintain the trail for no less than 20 years.

Also noted was the encroachment of the new I.S.D. 166 fence onto county property. Administrator Jeff Cadwell said he couldn’t see any need for corrective action, but felt it appropriate for the board to acknowledge the encroachment and document it, so the county had a record of it.

Keller Fence Company of Grand Rapids, who was a subcontractor for the school district, installed the fence to the east and west of the new school bus garage the last week of October.

Administrator Cadwell felt it was important to note the encroachment in case the Highway Department were to expand, and the fence impeded that expansion. 

Also approved were:

  • Agreement with Cook County Snowmobile Club, Lutsen Trailbreakers, and Superior Timberwolves to manage funding and maintenance of the snowmobile trails in the county was approved. 
  • A permit to use and cross county roads for mushers entered into the John Beargrease Sled Dog Race. The permit was granted to John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, Inc. Proper signage and Beargrease volunteers will manage the crossings, alerting any traffic to the sled dog race. 
  • A resolution was approved to increase the benefit level to $900 per year for Colvill volunteer firefighters who have completed at least five years of good time served as members of the statewide volunteer firefighter retirement plan. The measure will be effective January 1, 2018. 
  • Cook County Firewise Coordinator Todd Armbruster’s 2018-2019 revised contract was approved with a five percent raise. The board also heard a summary of the Firewise work done in 2017 that helped mitigate the risks of wildfire in the county from Emergency Management Director Valerie Marasco. 
North House Folk School Director Greg Wright presented a 20-year report detailing how the school has been growing and how it favorably impacts the county financially. He also updated the commissioners about the school’s attempt to purchase Dockside restaurant and property from owners Harley and Shele Toftey. 

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