Paved MN Valley River Bottoms Trail - Open House July 18

Flooded_River_Trail_example_June_29.jpgEditor note:  Bloomington residents and SD49 members who care about the environment should attend the DNR Open House Wednesday, July 18 (THIS WEDNESDAY), 6- 8 PM, at Bloomington City Hall to ask questions about this proposed trail.

As previously reported  here, against all common sense and FEMA guidance the MN DNR is preparing to pave 12 miles of trail, 10 feet wide, along the Minnesota River Bottoms, in a flood plain. In 2014 the state legislature passed a partial-funding resolution that required a paved trail.

A local group “Save the River Bottoms” is working to stop that habitat destruction, while supporting modest improvements along the current gravel and woodchip trail. A significant concern is that flooding routinely would wash-out a paved trail, similar to sections photographed this spring. Photo credit: Taylor Forsyth

Bloomington resident and trail-user Ellen Rohe attended the first DNR Open House in June, and provided the following information and insights:

After attending the DNR open house on June 14 regarding the MN State Trail in the southern border of Bloomington along the MN River I left with mixed feelings. It was great to see so many people come to the open house.

Resized_River_Open_House.jpgIt was good to finally see a “complete” plan from the DNR as to where exactly they are proposing for the paved path to go. They still do not have complete funding or an actual estimate of cost for maintenance.
It is sad to know that our own city officials and staff have felt it necessary to not be honest with the citizens who have asked questions.

Example…This has nothing to do with the city. We do not get a say in any of it.
Well most of the property belongs to the City of Bloomington so I would say they do have a say in it.

The DNR does not have full funding for the entire 12 miles so they plan on starting in 2019 to begin paving the segment from Old Cedar to Lyndale Ave. They plan on requesting future funds to complete segments through legislature and whenever there is a spare dime they will put it towards completing the paving west of Lyndale. There’s still no mention of the funding for the bridge to go over 9 Mile Creek, although the remainder of the 1.7 million that they currently have would more than take care of this cost.
This will NOT be a true transportation corridor since it will not be plowed in the winter. So therefore, there will be no transportation dollars going towards this project.


Resized_Mound_Spring_Portion_of_plan.jpgThe proponents of the paved-trail plan have always said it was just the mountain bikers who are trying to keep this area natural for the use of mountain biking. In this plan the paved trail will not infringe on much of the natural trail.

But for me, this has never been about keeping this natural for mountain bikers.  This has always been about keeping this area natural.  The damage that would be done by going down to the river bottoms with bulldozers and clear-cutting natural habitat has always been what this is about.  And wasting money on a project that is clearly not a sound investment for the tax payers of the state of Minnesota.

There will be another open house on July 18 from 6-8 PM at the City of Bloomington Civic Center.  Please come down and look at the plans and ask the questions you have.  This is not a done deal.  We can save this area.  Save the beavers & wood peckers!

Picture above is of just one portion of the plan. This is Mound Springs portion. Black line (above the tip of the paper/document in photo) indicates the future paved path. If you zoom in, the faint yellow/tan line closest to the river indicates the current natural trail

Editor notes: 

The DNR website has information about the trail plans and states that Bloomington will maintain the natural trail. It does not indicate how a paved trail would be maintained.

The city of Bloomington website has basic information and a link to a trail-advocacy group’s video, but makes no mention of the change from natural to paved surface and the opposing viewpoints as expressed by “Save the River Bottoms”.