Why do we need a trail?

The Camp Ripley/Veterans State Trail has a broad scope:

Diversifying central Minnesota’s economic base through expanding tourism.

A 2009 University of Minnesota Tourism Center study finds that trail users spend about $2.4 billion every year using the state’s existing trails. The Camp Ripley/Veterans State Trail will connect six trail systems, creating a one-of-a-kind draw to central Minnesota, and bringing much needed food, lodging, and sales tax revenue to a region battered by economic downturn.

Enhancing the quality of life and overall health of local residents

A recreational trail provides a safe and convenient place to enjoy the outdoors away from traffic and contributes greatly to the quality of life of people living and working in a community. Businesses benefit here as well. A recreational trail can become a recruitment and retention tool for a skilled workforce.

How much will the trail cost?

The results of our 2011 corridor study estimate total construction to be $ 28-33 million.

Who will maintain the trail and how much will that cost?

Because the Minnesota Legislature has designated the CRVST a state trail, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be responsible for the construction and maintenance of the trail. The Legislature and Legacy funds will provide much of the funding.

Who can use the trail?

The CRVST is the first state trail to incorporate motorized and non-motorized users in the same corridor whenever possible.

This trail will have paved off road trail segments as well as gravel trail segments, so it can be used for bicycling, ATV riding, snowmobiling, and walking.

How can a trail be shared by motorized and non-motorized users?

When the DNR acquires land for a trail, they usually purchase or lease a 100-foot wide corridor. This allows for plenty of separation between the various user types.

A first in Minnesota state trail history, the CRVST will have two completely separated alignments on either side of the Mississippi River.

There will, however, be pinch points, such as bridges, where users will have to share the trail.

Is there an estimated timeline of when work on the trail will begin and when it would be completed?

The DNR is currently working on an engineering plan that will allow for the start construction of the first segments of the trail. It is projected that on both the motorized and non-motorized alignments construction of the very first segments will start in late 2018.  However, trail construction is an equation with many unknown factors, so a timeline is difficult to establish. The CRVST will be about 40 miles long. By comparison, the 120-mile Paul Bunyan Trail took about 25 years to complete.

Where will the trail go?

It will connect to the Soo Line trail south of Little Falls, encircle Camp Ripley, and end at Crow Wing State Park.

How will the trail impact communities and individuals with property adjacent to the trail?

The DNR negotiates a lease or purchase of right of way. They will not take away anyone’s property. Studies have shown that a recreational trail has a significant positive impact on property values.