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Nordic Ridge recreation trails to expand

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The Nordic Ridge Recreation Area Trails in Crosslake will likely be expanded by 2-3 miles this year in hopes of putting the trail system and the city on the winter tourism destination map, Alden Hardwick of the PAL Foundation told the Crosslake City Council on Monday, April 14.

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The six miles of trails currently run through municipal and Crow Wing County land near the Crosslake Community Center, offering skiing opportunities in the winter and hiking in the summer.

Hardwick said completing the second phase of the project by expanding the trails to the north will make an already beautiful area even more desirable as a recreation and tourism destination.

“We have a really good trail system now,” he said. “We will have a really great trail system, very unique in this part of the state, and it will bring people in.”

Upcoming plans for the trails include adding a walkway across a swamp for the trails to become more accessible in the summertime, continued expansion into the 600-plus acres of county land northeast of the community center, and the purchase of snowshoes that will be kept at the center for community use.

Hardwick said they will offer guided tours of the trails in a six-passenger golf cart on Wednesdays this summer.

“People are always super impressed when they see what we have here. There are big trees, swamps, hills, curves and two lakes back there,” he said. “You get in there and you can’t realize the town is two miles away, because it’s so clustered with trees.”

City parks and recreation director Jon Henke said some of the uses being considered for the trails include a cross-country ski race during WinterFest and potentially a dogsled race.

The city will purchase snowshoes this summer thanks to a $2,500 donation from the Crosslake-Ideal Lions, and Henke said they are also in discussions with the city of Emily to potentially gain use of cross-country skis that city once purchased for the now-closed Emily Charter School.

Henke also shared plans to purchase a trail groomer and roller compactor to be used with the fire department’s new side-by-side unit. Previously, Ideal SnoPros helped maintain the trails, but only did so when they were already planning to groom snowmobile trails.

Hardwick said the city is seeking further community support in the form of donations and volunteer work. Currently, the foundation has collected $3,500 toward the $9,600 project. Volunteers are needed to act as tour guides, trail monitors, trail workers and members of advertising committees.

“If you build it, they will come. I think this will happen here,” he said. “I think it will be a nice attraction.”

Chelsey Perkins can be reached at chelsey.perkins@pineandlakes.com. Follow her at facebook.com/PEJChelsey and on Twitter @PEJ_Chelsey.

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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