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Bonding bill includes Cuyuna trail funds

The Minnesota Legislature passed a $988 million bonding bill Thursday, including $3.6 million for the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area Mountain Bicycling Trails.

The Minnesota Legislature passed a $988 million bonding bill Thursday, including $3.6 million for the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area Mountain Bicycling Trails.

Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign the bill in the next week.

"We are thrilled with this result," said Aaron Hautala, volunteer president of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew, a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, in a news release. "Our regional chambers, economic development organizations, businesses and citizens made this a top priority for funding last year and again this year."

The funding will help expand the Master Vision for Trails, Hautala said. In partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Master Vision expands the trail system from 27.5 miles to 75 miles, adds true expert trails, increases capacity to host major events and races, and creates easier access to the trail system from surrounding communities.

Hautala credited Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, Rep. John Poston, R-Lake Shore, Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, state Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Fairview Township, for fighting to make sure the trails were included in the bonding bill.

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The recreation area was established in 1993 and the mountain bicycle trail system was developed and opened in 2011 with a combination of federal and state dollars.

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