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Crow Wing County begins Safe Route Connection Project

Project includes evaluation of possible ATV trail connections to local cities.

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CROW WING COUNTY — The Crow Wing County Land Services Department is beginning the Safe Route Connection Project that will evaluate a possible connection between the Miller Black Bear all terrain vehicle trail and nearby cities within the county.

The project will include several steps to support a comprehensive evaluation of potential routes. The project is expected to result in a final committee recommendation by the end of 2022.

“Recreation trails are a cornerstone of outdoor activities in Crow Wing County and one of the many benefits of our public lands,” Doug Houge, Crow Wing County Board chair, said in a news release.

The project will address alternatives for a Safe Route Connection that meets the needs of diverse recreation user types and community members. The goal of the project is “to determine options for a safe ATV route to connect users to local communities.”

“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,” Ryan Simonson, Environmental Services supervisor, said in the release.

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The county has contracted with Dovetail Partners, a Minnesota-based nonprofit, to manage the project. Dovetail will provide meeting planning and facilitation services to support the project and the work of the Safe Route Committee.

The Safe Route Committee is an 11-member group representing interests and expertise in conservation law enforcement, mountain biking, ATV riders, snowmobiling, area businesses owners, local cities and townships, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The first meeting of the Safe Route Committee will be from 6-8 p.m. Monday, May 23, in Meeting Rooms 1 and 2 in the lower level of the Land Services Building, 322 Laurel St., Brainerd. The meeting is open to the public and the agenda will include time for public comment.

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