Paul Bunyan Trail resurfacing may begin in Backus

Department of Natural Resources rep presents council with preliminary plans


BACKUS โ€” The Backus City Council learned of a plan to resurface the Paul Bunyan Trail from Pine River to Hackensack.

Dave Schotzko, Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division area supervisor in Bemidji, brought preliminary plans to the Monday, April 3, regular council meeting. Plans include proposed crosswalk paint and new texture near intersections to alert cyclists of upcoming intersections.

Schotzko said the initial plan was to resurface and repair the trail from Backus to Hackensack, but additional funding appeared possible, prompting plans to expand the project from Pine River to Hackensack.

However, because funding for the Backus to Hackensack work cannot be used for the Backus to Pine River work or vice versa due to regulation, construction will radiate out from Backus.

Schotzko did not give a timeline, but he did ask the council to look over the plans and give any feedback.


The council and Schotzko appeared to agree that crosswalk paint at intersections could lead cyclists to think they can cross intersections without obeying stop signs. It is possible the crosswalk paint may be left off the final plans.

In other business Monday, the council:

  • Approved a partial payment, three-quarters of a $52,000 quote, for a project to install fencing at the north end of the airport. Most of the funds are reimbursable through an aviation grant; however, the council hesitated to pay the full amount until work can start.
  • Approved a letter to Scott Wilson, Cass County Housing and Redevelopment Authority director, requesting that playground equipment be removed from city property near the apartments either by the HRA or by the city staff at a cost.

The council has been planning a fence around the overlapping property. The council is also concerned about liability relating to the playground equipment.

  • Approved a grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for reseeding at the airport with $37,468 paid by the grant and $1,972 paid by the city.
  • Learned Tylor Risk has been served a summons and complaint relating to a dispute over trees on Risk's property growing into the approach of the municipal airport. The city attorney is now filing a motion for summary judgment by the court.
  • Agree to apply for a Sourcewell Community Impact Grant to pay for mowing equipment.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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