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Boreal Community Media

Planning commission approves opening bulk of Gunflint Trail to ATV use

Jun 13, 2019 01:51PM ● By Editor

ATVs are currently allowed on sections of the Gunflint Trail - Photo:  Rhonda Silence, WTIP

By Joe Friedrichs of WTIP Radio News - June 13, 2019

About a dozen people showed up at the Cook County Courthouse June 12 for a public hearing that could open a large section of the Gunflint Trail to ATV use.

The public hearing was a portion of the Cook County Planning Commission meeting. After receiving several dozen written comments and hearing from seven members of the public during the meeting, the planning commission voted 5-2 to approve the changes and open the Gunflint Trail from Grand Marais to the mid-Gunflint area for ATV use. Final approval of the proposed changes need the green light from the Cook County Board of Commissioners. The county board will likely discuss and potentially vote on the ordinance amendments during a meeting in July, according to Tim Nelson, the director of the county’s land services department.

As described by Nelson at the start of the public hearing, the Gunflint would open from the start of the Gunflint in Grand Marais to the Mid-Trail area, a distance of approximately 40 miles. The amendments to the ordinance would allow ATV use from Grand Marais to County Road 92, known commonly as Iron Lake Road.

During the public hearing, several dozen comments were officially submitted to the planning commission for public record. A majority of those written comments were in support of the proposed changes to the ATV ordinance, according to Nelson. In addition, Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen and the local public safety and transportation committee shared their support of the changes to the ordinance, according to Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk.

And though final approval of the ATV ordinance will require a vote from the county board, Cook County Highway Engineer Krysten Foster told WTIP this week the ATV signs currently posted on the Gunflint Trail will be coming down in the near future. Any signs related to ATV use on the Gunflint Trail will be determined later and likely not placed directly on the Gunflint, Foster said.

To listen to an audio report, follow this link to the WTIP Radio website.

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