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Council lends support to Snodeos

The Brainerd City Council Monday voted to offer its support to the Brainerd Snodeos snowmobile club, with one council member, Bob Olson, opposed.

But Mark Kavanaugh, secretary/treasurer of the Brainerd Snodeos, told the council that even if the council supports their efforts, chances are slim there will be a snowmobile trail connection through Brainerd for several years, after this winter season.

The Brainerd Snodeos have been working for the past two years to find a solution to retain a Mississippi River snowmobile trail crossing at College Drive, which has been a groomed grant-in-aid snowmobile trail since the mid-1980s. A snowmobile trail is not part of next year’s College Drive project. The Snodeos were planning to apply for a 90/10 matching Legacy grant but missed the Oct. 31 deadline because of a misunderstanding between the group and the city.

The city, in the meantime, has applied for the same Legacy funds for the Spur Line Trail.

Kavanaugh said chances were very slim that the group would be able to secure $500,000 in grant funding needed to construct a College Drive bridge extension to allow sled traffic, coinciding with next year’s construction project.

“Chances are there will not be a trail within the city limits of Brainerd except a small portion by the fairgrounds,” Kavanaugh said, referring to next year. “It’s going to take a minimum of 2-5 years to accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish and at that time we’ll reroute the trail through the city of Baxter, who we’re talking to right now.”

Kavanaugh said the snowmobile trail connection would connect with the Paul Bunyan Trail in Baxter. He said the group is also in discussions with the DNR to improve that Baxter trail connection.

The council, in approving a motion of support, agreed to allow the Brainerd Snodeos a snowmobile trail easement in roughly the same corridor as it now exists for a period not less than 20 years; it allowed additional snowmobile use of the Spur Line Trail to a point agreeable by both the Snodeos and the city; and provided its full support and cooperation from the city for the Brainerd Snodeos in its efforts to seek funding grants for the “Thru Town Snowmobile Trail.” This will allow the club to apply for grants.

Olson said since the trail system would run through residential areas he would not support the motion. He said the council has received many complaints about snowmobile lights in homeowners’ bedroom windows.

Council president Mary Koep said the Snodeos earlier agreed to two meetings a year with affected property owners to work out any problems. Council member Kelly Bevans also was appointed liaison to the Snodeos Club.

JODIE TWEED may be reached at or 855-5858.