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Public comment sought on proposed ATV trail north of Crosby

People have until Dec. 20 to voice opinions on the proposed Miller Black Bear Trail project for all-terrain vehicles northwest of Crosby.

The Cuyuna Iron Range Riders all-terrain vehicles (ATV) Club wants to designate one mile of new trail and about 19 miles of existing trails for a multi-use motorized recreational trail system, Crow Wing County Land Services reported.

The proposed trail is in Wolford and Irondale townships in the Miller-Black Bear area, which now has more than 25 miles of motorized trails on public land. The Miller-Black Bear area was spotlighted this past summer for flood issues after the heavy June rains. In 2006, the Crow Wing County Board was studying the possibility of an ATV park in Irondale Township. The issue was a controversial one. The most recent proposed trail needs support from the state and Crow Wing County. If both approve, funds from the grant-in-aid program and the Cuyuna Iron Range Riders Club would pay for the trail, the county reported. The club would build the new trail segments and install signs and amenities like picnic tables and other amenities.

Enforcement of reckless driving or other violations falls to the county’s sheriff’s office and conservation officers.

According to Crow Wing County, the proposed trail:

• Encompasses more than 4,000 acres of county managed public land and more than 400 acres of Department of Natural Resources (DNR) managed forestland by the Mississippi River.

• Would allow ATVs and licensed highway vehicles and off-road vehicles and off-highway motorcycles.

• Includes a plan for two trail-head parking areas, one in a field near Cole Lake west of County Road 30 in Wolford Township and one in Section 6 off Iverson Road in Trommald.

• Would be open to motorized use from May 1 though Oct. 31.

• Would have new trail construction amounting to less than 5 percent — about one mile — of the proposal trail project.

• Is not on a local, county or state road right of way.

• Does not include a connector trail to other motorized recreational trails.

• Triggers the initiation of the DNR’s Trail Ambassador’s Program where volunteers work to educate riders on proper trail etiquette and assist in minor emergencies.

“The purpose of the trail, as per the Crow Wing County Comprehensive Land Use Plan, is provide diverse recreation opportunities that are accessible to people of all ages and abilities, while preserving the County’s high quality natural areas and open spaces,” Crow Wing County stated in a news release.

The county is requesting public comments on the proposed Miller Black Bear Trail Project. People may send written comments on the project to the County Land Service Department until Dec. 20, 2012.

The county reported the time line includes the Cuyuna Iron Range Riders club getting grant-in-aid funding through the state and getting a trail permit among other permits to construct a scenic picnic area on the trail system’s north side.

Plans call for the trail to be cleared of deadfall and debris in April followed by more work in clearing, mowing and maintenance between May and October.

The project plan, with a map of the site, is available at the county website: and copies of the project plan also are available from the Land Services Department in Brainerd during business hours or by contacting the office at 824-1115.

Written comments may be emailed to: (Please include “Miller Black Bear” in the subject line.), or mailed/faxed to: Crow Wing County Land Services Department, Attn: Miller Black Bear, Land Services Building, 322 Laurel St., Suite 12, Brainerd, MN 56401, Fax: 218-824-1070.

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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