OUR OPINION: TRAIL
News of the proposed recreational trail that would circle Gull Lake sounded great to the bikers, walkers and runners we know in this area but an important point must be noted. The proposed 25.4 mile trail would be on existing right of way, including road shoulders.
That means given the narrow width of some road shoulders and the fast-moving traffic on roadways near the trail, this is no trail for the faint of heart. Both recreational trail users and motorists will have to be alert.
Maybe in a perfect world, one in which we didn't have to worry about financially strapped units of government, new trails could be paved, away from the busy, high-speed traffic. Well, that perfect world doesn't exist yet and walkers who may want to circle Gull Lake will have to put up with the traffic for much of the route. There are beautiful paved trails that exist on some segments, thanks to the East Gull Lake trail system, but that type of pedestrian-friendly environment will likely be the exception and not the rule for the time being.
Still, we would be remiss if we didn't praise the cooperation that has been exhibited to establish the Gull Lake Micropolitan Pilot Project. The collaborating units were Crow Wing and Cass counties, East Gull Lake, Lake Shore, Nisswa and Fairview Township.
While the trail around Gull Lake may not be perfect the model of collaboration may prove to be a template for future joint projects that will increase efficiency and better all our area communities.