Cuyuna Master Vision investments moves forward
Two bills were introduced in the Minnesota Legislature this week to provide state investments in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area (CCSRA). The bills authored by Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, and Sen. Carrie Ru...
Two bills were introduced in the Minnesota Legislature this week to provide state investments in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area (CCSRA).
The bills authored by Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, and Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, along with a number of other key legislators, are the first step in securing necessary funding for the next phase of development of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail system.
"This is a significant next step in fulfilling the Master Vision for Cuyuna," said Aaron Hautala, Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew president, in a news release. "We are grateful our local legislators have carried Cuyuna's vision to St. Paul."
The bills SF701 and HF791 will provide $1 million out of the Parks and Trails Legacy Fund to develop phase one of the master vision and will be considered for funding this year. The bills SF700 and HF790 provide $4.2 million in bonding for necessary acquisition and development of the remainder of the trails within the master vision and will be considered by the 2016 Legislature.
"The next step in St. Paul is for Legislative hearings," said Judy Erickson, Government Relations to the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew. "This week's action puts the project before the Legislature for their consideration and approval. The funds aren't available until the Legislature acts."
The master vision takes the current trail system of 25 miles or one day of riding, and adds about 50 additional miles of trails, expanding the opportunity to three days of riding without repeating a trail for an experienced cyclist. It includes trails for families and all skill levels. It will provide valuable connections between Cuyuna area communities.
"Phase one is our critical health and safety phase," said Hautala. "This gives us the opportunity to move to a single-track, one-way trail system. We anticipate starting to move in this direction as early as this summer when the first two new trails are slated for construction."
"The goal is to evolve our current $2 million a year economic impact into $21 million a year by 2020," added Hautala. "We already know that people visit from all over the region and many of them several times a year. We know what our customers want and our master vision reflects their input. When legislature acts in favor of these investments, Cuyuna will be a year-round, international, family cycling destination."
As one of the first purpose-designed and built trails for mountain biking in the region, Cuyuna has changed the paradigm for bicyclists in the Midwest. It is quickly gaining a reputation for one of the best places in the nation to experience mountain biking. This week Singletracks.com listed Cuyuna as one of the best ten trails in the nation for winter fat biking.