The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division seeks public comments on a draft management plan amendment for Itasca State Park. The DNR is proposing to pave two segments of snowmobile trail for summer bicycling and walking, which would improve safety and enhance the experience of park visitors.
One trail segment parallels Wilderness Drive from the Headwaters of the Mississippi area to where the one-way section of the road begins, offering an alternative to bicycling on the two-way road. The second trail segment connects to a future spur of the Heartland State Trail, which will extend from Itasca State Park to Park Rapids. The trail segments will continue to be groomed as snowmobile trails during the winter.
Itasca State Park was established in 1891 to preserve old growth red and white pine forests and to protect the land surrounding the Headwaters of the Mississippi River. Today, the park supports a diverse community of plants and wildlife and offers visitors a variety of recreation opportunities. Facilities include two campgrounds, two group centers, one group campsite, numerous cabins and lodges, a swimming beach, a picnic area, a visitor center with year-round interpretive programs and trails for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.