The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is hosting an open house Tuesday, Dec. 17, for anyone interested in the planning of the segment of the Minnesota River State Trail that will connect the cities of Franklin and Le Sueur, including a loop through the cities of Sleepy Eye and Redwood Falls. The open house will be from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Mankato Room, Intergovernmental Center, 10 Civic Center Plaza, Mankato.
DNR staff will be available to answer questions about the trail planning process and receive comments on the draft master plan. Master plans guide the development, management and operation of the state trail to provide quality recreational opportunities. The master plan must be completed and approved before any funds can be used for trail construction.
The Minnesota River State Trail was legislatively authorized in 2002, extending 208 miles from Big Stone Lake State Park to the City of Le Sueur. A master plan for the segment from Big Stone Lake State Park to Franklin was completed in 2008, and portions of the trail have been constructed.
The master plan currently being developed deals with the 120-mile segment of the trail that will travel through Redwood, Renville, Brown, Nicollet, Blue Earth and Le Sueur counties, with connections to the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail in Mankato and the Minnesota Valley State Trail in Le Sueur. The plan recommends connections to Fort Ridgely, Flandrau and Minneopa state parks, communities, historical sites, and other park and trail systems in the Minnesota River Valley.
Recommended trail uses include bicycling, hiking/walking, dog walking, running/jogging, in-line skating, horseback riding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, interpretation and environmental education.
A copy of the draft master plan is available online at www.mndnr.gov (www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/mgmtplans/parks_trails/open.html).
Those unable to review and comment on the draft master plan at the open house can submit comments via phone or email to:
Comments will be accepted through Friday, Jan. 10.