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Guest Opinion: Preserving the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area

We as a region support an ATV route to Ironton but we do not support that route going through or anywhere within the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.

Carrie Ruud.JPG
Sen. Carrie Ruud
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In 1993, the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area (CCSRA) was approved and signed into law by Gov. Arne Carlson. The Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area became the first “recreation area” within the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The stated goal of the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is to protect and preserve the scenic beauty and allow silent sport recreational opportunities, including access (where possible) for persons with disabilities to participate.

In 2005, the first 5 miles of paved Cuyuna Lakes State Trail was constructed within the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area along an Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible route. The paved trail within the state recreation area has become a safe haven for families, children and our friends and neighbors who can enjoy the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area using wheelchairs. In 2011, the natural-surface mountain bicycle trails of the state recreation area opened and since fueled an economic renaissance. Today, the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is Minnesota’s No. 1 attended state recreation area. Since 2011, the Cuyuna region has recruited and retained 30-plus new businesses. Additionally, in 2021 alone, 118,000 cyclists and 320,000 total visitors visited the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.

Since the beginning, our legislative purposes for the investments made in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area were two-fold:

  1. To recruit a 21st-century workforce through silent sport, quality-of-life enhancement not available elsewhere in Minnesota. 
  2. To create opportunities for new business development to serve both our regional residents and users of the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.

As we consider the current request for an all-terrain vehicle route through the state recreation area, it’s imperative we, as a regional community, protect the investments and safety of the allowed uses within the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. It’s clear, we as a region support an ATV route to Ironton, we do not support that route going through or anywhere within the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. As a regional community, let’s advocate that our County and State work together to build a solution for this ATV route using the available route adjacent to county roads 34 and 30.
Ruud, R-Breezy Point, represents District 10 in the Minnesota Senate.

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