Steve Weber called it a small opening. For mountain bike enthusiasts, that’s the equivalent of a crack in a cloudy sky — a small crack, but big enough to allow a ray of sunshine to sneak through.
And for mountain bikers, that will do. They’ve waited through a long, gloomy winter and spring in anticipation of the opening of what some are calling a world-class mountain bike trail system in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in Crosby/Ironton.
The wait will end Wednesday at 8 a.m., when a 14.2-mile portion of the 25-mile trail system will open. That decision came Thursday night, when Weber and members of the Cuyuna chapter of Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists decided before their monthly meeting that the segment of the trail is ready to go.
“We made a decision based on assessing where we are on maintenance and think we can open the trail on Wednesday at 8 when the rec area opens up,” said Weber, park manager at the CCSRA. “It will only be opening at the Huntington Mine Lake — on the north side and south side of the Huntington Mine Lake only. The other trails need some work.”
The remainder of the trail system is expected to open June 10, when the DNR has scheduled a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the trail. That will be followed by the first Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival June 11-12 on and around the trails.
“Everything else will remain closed until the grand opening,” Weber said. “All the trails should be ready to go by the grand opening.”
Weber said the segment of the trail set to open Wednesday is looking “real good.”
“We’ve spent a lot of time polishing that up,” he said of that chunk of the trail. “All of the credit goes to the Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists Cuyuna chapter. They’ve put in 425 hours (of volunteer work on the trails) up to this date.”
A color map of the trail system was recently added to the DNR website and may be downloaded in PDF format by going to www.dnr.state.mn.us/ state_parks/cuyuna_country/maps.html and clicking on “All Season Map.”
BRIAN S. PETERSON may be reached at brian.peterson@ brainerddispatch.com or 855-5864. To follow him on Twitter, go to www.twitter.com/brian_speterson. For his blogs, go to www. brainerddispatch.com.