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Trail plans questioned
May 2, 2016

Associate Editor

LESTER PRAIRIE, WINSTED, MN – A McLeod County trail committee formed one year ago has been developing long-range trail plans, an effort area townships are hoping to halt until “benefits and costs from the recently paved Luce Line [State] Trail can be assessed and justified.”

A resolution passed by 10 of the townships (Winsted, Bergen, Helen, Hale, Acoma, Hutchinson, Lynn, Rich Valley, Glencoe, and Round Grove) asks the McLeod County Board to suspend planning and spending for three years.

McLeod County had established the trail committee in order to create a priority list for trails in the county if funding becomes available, and help guide trail decisions for the next 20 years.

A draft of the McLeod County Trails Plan, which was developed by the trail committee and the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission, will be presented at a public hearing Tuesday, May 3 at 9:30 a.m. at the Glencoe City Center.

The 84-page document includes information about local trail issues and opportunities, trail objectives, potential funding sources, priority trail projects, and more.

The plan states that its primary purpose is to “guide development and maintenance of a county-wide network of trails to serve the needs of residents and visitors.”

Priority trail projects listed include (order is not meant to indicate ranking):

• Dakota Rail Regional Trail (Lester Prairie to Hutchinson,

• Silver Lake trail (central Luce Line/Dakota rail loop),

• Glencoe – Dakota Rail Regional Trail,

• Winsted/Lester Prairie trail (eastern Luce Line/Dakota rail loop),

• Lake Marion Park – Hutchinson trail,

• Stahl’s Lake – Piepenburg Park Trail,

• Glencoe/Plato trail,

• Luce Line – west trail improvements,

• Hutchinson/Glencoe trail,

• off-highway vehicle (OHV) and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) county park, and

• expansion of mountain bike trails.

Dakota Rail Regional Trail plan

Another trail plan, specifically for the Dakota Rail Regional Trail, is currently being developed.

“Two years ago, we were informed that if we want to be considered for Legacy dollars, the Dakota Rail needs to be a regional trail,” said Al Koglin, McLeod County Parks superintendent.

The trail plan is part of the process to apply for regional status, and Koglin noted that the plan had to be separate from the overall McLeod County Trails Plan.

Upcoming trail meetings
Three opportunities for the public to learn more about trail plans in McLeod County are as follows:

• Tuesday, May 3 – A public hearing to review the McLeod County Trails Plan will take place at 9:30 a.m. during the McLeod County Board meeting at Glencoe City Center, 1107 11th St. E. The plan lists the Dakota Rail Regional Trail, the Luce Line State Trail, and other trail connections/mountain bike trails as priorities if funding becomes available.

• Monday, May 9 – An open house to discuss the Dakota Rail Regional Trail master plan will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Depot in Hutchinson, just off Adams St. SE. County employees will be on hand to answer questions, and trail maps will be available.

• Tuesday, May 17 – The McLeod County Board will meet at 9 a.m. at Lester Prairie City Hall. One item on the agenda is approval of the Dakota Trail Master Plan, as well as approval to apply for Legacy grant funding for the Dakota trail.

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