The Future Of Trails

Following my spiel on the topic, there’s a report about a county trail meeting from the West Central Tribune written by reporter Anne Polta.

Anyone interested in the future of area trails should consider attending the May 11 meeting.

When trails and some other option — such as a wider shoulder on a road or highway — are on the the table, deciding which is the best use of public funds is difficult.

I see some trails in the Willmar area that run parallel to roads or highways with shoulders on each side that are nearly as wide as traffic lanes.

Then there’s the balance between building new trails or maintaining the trails we already have.

There may be state trails somewhere that are resurfaced — something Glacial Lakes State Trail badly needs from Willmar to New London, but the state seems more interested in building new trails.

Long stretches of the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail, which runs from St. Joseph to Osakis, were resurfaced last year.

But that’s because, as the name indicates, it’s a regional trail.

“The trail was originally the idea of the Albany Jaycees, who spent many hours raising money and support for the trail,” it says on the Wobegon’s website.

A couple of years ago there was a story in the St. Cloud Times about how leaders in the communities along the trail were becoming concerned about how the Wobegon had aged.

GARY MILLER | TRIBUNE A portion of the Glacial Lake State Trail north of Willmar is seen Tuesday. Public comment sought for a survey on Kandiyohi County trails at an open house May 11 in New London.
GARY MILLER | TRIBUNE
A portion of the Glacial Lake State Trail north of Willmar is seen Tuesday. Public comment sought for a survey on Kandiyohi County trails at an open house May 11 in New London.It’s pavement had deteriorated to the point that it was nearly as bad as that stretch of Glacial Lakes I just mentioned. That’s my opinion based on riding both trails, not a comparison anyone else made.

If you want to see the difference between a state and a regional trail, just jump on the Wobegon somewhere between St. Joe and Osakis and keep on riding that trail when it ends at Osakis.

There’s trail all the way to Fergus Falls.

But at Osakis it becomes the Central Lakes State Trail. And, while Central Lakes is in better shape than Glacial Lakes, the Wobegon is in noticeably better than both state trails.

My point is, no matter which level of government has the final say on a particular stretch of trail, at least — and probably more — should be spent on maintaining the trails we have as is spent on building new trails.

That’s my two cents on the topic, now here’s the details of the upcoming meeting.
If you’re a biker, hiker or have some other interest in trails, please consider attending and contributing your two cents, whatever that may be.

Open house set in New London on Kandiyohi County trail plan
NEW LONDON — An open house will be held 3 to 4:30 p.m. May 11 at the New London Senior Center to share information and obtain public input on existing and potential new bicycle and pedestrian trails in Kandiyohi County.

Maps will be available for the public to view.

Kandiyohi County is in the midst of developing a bicycle and pedestrian plan. An online survey is being conducted to solicit comments on future bicycle and pedestrian needs, including new trails and amenities such as parking, rest areas, adequate lighting and safer crossings. The survey is at surveymonkey.com/r/Kandiyohitrails. It will be available until May 27.

Questions and comments on the Kandiyohi County bicycle and pedestrian plan can be directed to Mel Odens, Kandiyohi County public works director, at mel.odens@co.kandiyohi.mn.us.
For more information on the Kandiyohi County bicycle and pedestrian survey or the open house, contact the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission Community Development Director, Matthew Johnson, at communityplanning@mmrdc.org.