Nine projects awarded IRRR grants for new or improved regional trails

The new Regional Trails Grant Program assists with engineering and construction of various types of new trails such as snowmobile, bicycle, ski, hiking and ATV. Nine projects were recently awarded grants that will either create new trails or improve existing trails throughout the region: • City of Crosby: Multi-use trail system tunnel connector under Highway 6 ($134,000 for tunnel construction)—improvement project; • City of Ely: Hidden Valley mountain bike skills trail ($20,000 for trail construction)— new project; • City of Ely: Partnership among three regional ATV clubs to develop the Prospectors Loop trail, Voyageur Country trial and Quad Cities trail ($2.3 million for trail construction, engineering bridges and culverts)—new project; • City of Grand Rapids: Multi-use trail connector between downtown Grand Rapids and Cohasset ($250,000 for trail construction)—new project; • City of Mt. Iron: Forested hiking and Nordic skiing trail adjacent to K-12 school ($5,000 for bridge construction)—improvement project; • Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority: Mountain bike trail connector between Britton Peak and Lutsen Mountain ($375,000 for trail construction, trailhead enhancement and signage)—new project; • Iron Range Tourism Bureau: ATV trail connector between Virginia and Eveleth, accessing Highway 53 bridge ($60,897 for trail construction, signage and culvert)— new project; • Lake County: Split Rock Wilds mountain bike trail in Two Harbors ($300,000 for trail construction and bridges)—new project; and • Northern Lights Nordic Ski Club: Sugar Hills Nordic Ski Trails in Grand Rapids ($9,056 for signage and trailhead enhancement)— improvement project.

“Trails can have important economic impacts to a rural region,” said Mark Phillips, Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation commissioner. “They attract tourism spending and auxiliary start-up businesses such as rental and repair shops. Trails can also be a business recruiting tool for health care and other large industries.”

Projects require a one-to-one match, and grants were awarded based upon community impact and partnerships, economic impact, job creation, project leverage and readiness. The Regional Trails Program is funded at $3.47 million for fiscal year 2019.

Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation funds the Regional Trails Program through taxes paid by Minnesota’s mining industry. For more information, email Jim Plummer at jim.plummer@state.mn.us or call him at 218-274-7006.

Source: The Ranger, Feb. 21, 2019. The Ranger is a publication of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation.

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