Crow Wing County commissioners agree to sell land for Whipple Beach trail

The Whipple Beach Recreation Area’s attractions include a fishing pier, a picnic pavilion and tables, a playground, a public beach, restrooms, paved trails, benches and kitchen facilities.

Ryan Simonson, a Crow Wing County environmental services supervisor, uses a laser pointer to indicate on a map at the Tuesday, Nov. 26, county board meeting where a 30-foot right of way along Oakwood Drive could be used for the construction of a trail that would connect Cedar Scenic Road and Whipple Beach in Baxter. Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

The Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners sold county land to the city of Baxter for the construction of a trail connecting Cedar Scenic Road and the Whipple Beach Recreation Area.

The board agreed at its Tuesday, Nov. 26, meeting to accept the city’s offer of $9,400 for 30 feet of right of way near Camp Vanasek for a bike and pedestrian trail.

“Although the trail is very close to Oakwood Drive, much of it will be located just outside the existing right of way,” said Ryan Simonson, a county environmental services supervisor.

The city asked to purchase about 2.2 acres of county land for a total of $9,400 for additional right of way along Oakwood Drive for the 2020 Oakwood Drive trail improvement project.

“The value was determined by county assessing staff, and we are recommending the offer be accepted,” Simonson told the commissioners.


The proposed trail segment will connect the recreation area with an existing trail to the east along Clearwater Road. The segment will also connect to future planned trails to the south.

“There is increased traffic we see from bikers and walkers and even from the camp, itself … so it would be a well-utilized trail,” Commissioner Steve Barrows said.

The Whipple Beach Recreation Area’s attractions include a fishing pier, a picnic pavilion and tables, a playground, a public beach, restrooms, paved trails, benches and kitchen facilities.

“The drive lanes are not as wide as we would like them to be to accommodate the safety factor for those pedestrians,” said Barrows, a former Baxter City Council member. “Because of Whipple Beach being a well-developed piece of property and beach area, we’re seeing a lot of increased traffic from the residential area kind of to the south of Cedar Scenic that travel over there to the beach to use the facilities.”

Commissioner Paul Koering made a motion to accept the offer of $9,400 from the city of Baxter to purchase the land from the county. Barrows seconded the motion, and it was passed unanimously.

“This is really what I see as an appropriate use of that right of way in creating a safer but a longer trail within Baxter also,” Barrows said.

In other business, the county board:

Approved the hiring of Lance Ray, highway maintenance specialist.


Accepted the departure of Matt Barnes, highway maintenance specialist, and Matt Dixon, sheriff’s office part-time deputy.

Approved the designation of polling places for the Unorganized Territory for the red precinct, Crow Wing Power Building, 17330 Highway 371; white precinct, Living Word North, 16314 Highway 371; and blue precinct, The Church on the Wise Road, 10345 Wise Road.

Approved the Minnesota lawful gambling application for an exempt permit for the Minnesota Elks Youth Camp on Oct. 17, 2020, at the Minnesota Elks Youth Camp in Lake Edward.

Approved the final payment to Astech Corp. for $1.06 million for bituminous seal coat work.

Scheduled a public hearing for 9:05 a.m. Dec. 31 to consider adopting the county short-term rental licensing ordinance.

Accepted the petition of the partners involved in the 63-acre Nelson Preserve for the establishment of a cartway in the Unorganized Territory Second Assessment District to access the acres by crossing lands owned by others.

Authorized the withdrawal of a parcel in Crosslake near Pine View Lane from the list of tax-forfeited parcels available over the counter and authorized the direct sale of the parcel to an adjoining landowner near Big Pine Lake for $25,100.

Authorized an out-of-state travel request allowing the administrative services director to attend the Election Center Joint Election Official Liaison Conference in January in Washington, D.C., with all expenses to be paid from the elections budget.


Reviewed and adopted the county policies for debt management, fund balance, investment, long-term financial planning, revenue and enterprise risk management.

Authorized entering into a contract agreement between the county and River Valley Forensic Services P.A. for the services of Dr. Kelly Mills as medical examiner of the county, effective Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2022. Ramsey County medical examiner Dr. Michael McGee is stepping down as the medical examiner for Crow Wing County. Mills was McGee’s principal assistant for the past 15 years.

Authorized entering into a grant contract between the state of Minnesota and the sheriff’s office for reimbursement of costs related to labor and equipment in the enforcement of off-highway vehicle laws, effective through June 30, 2021.

Appointed to the Community Health Services Advisory Committee Teresia Mortenson to replace Mary Burrell as the representative from District 2 for the term ending Jan. 31, 2021.

Adopted the county board calendar for 2020 for meetings of the board, committee of the whole, personnel committee, budget committee and natural resources advisory committee.

FRANK LEE, county and features reporter, may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at . Follow him on Twitter at .

A 30-foot right of way along Oakwood Drive is proposed for the construction of a trail that would connect Cedar Scenic Road and the highly popular Whipple Beach in Baxter. Land Services Department / Crow Wing County

I cover arts and entertainment, and write feature stories, for the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper. As a professional journalist with years of experience, I have won awards for my fact-based reporting. And my articles have also appeared in other publications, including USA Today. 📰
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