After a boom in popularity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota’s State Legislature voted to appropriate more than $13 million over the next two years to help bolster trail access across the state.
The appropriations come from a Department of Natural Resources account funded by ATV registrations and other user taxes, and will speed the buildup of a growing trail infrastructure in northeastern Minnesota.
One-time grants approved by the 2021 Legislature include $955,000 to the city of Ely for new trail connections that will include a bridge across the Beaver River to connect the new Prospector Trail System to Taconite State Trail. Another $950,000 was granted to St. Louis County for expansion of the Voyageur Country ATV Trail in the areas of Cook, Orr, Ash River, Kabetogama Township and International Falls, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune.
Lake County received $1.3 million from the Legislature to further develop the Prospector trail and St. Louis County received $1.9 million for construction of an Iron Range trail championed by the Quad Cities ATV Club.
According to the DNR, Minnesota's active ATV registrations have grown to include more than 324,000 machines, a 36% increase from 15 years ago. Riders have access to 2,875 state trail miles – a more than 100% jump since 2005.
Is your region working to create trails for consumers to ride around on? If so, let us know about it in the comments section!