No need to break out the fat-tire bikes, folks.
Heavy rain and even heavier snow — weight-wise — early in the week dropped a number of trees onto the Paul Bunyan State Trail (PBST) and also forced the closure of the mountain bike trails in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.
But by Wednesday, the downed trees — many in a short stretch just north of Pequot Lakes — were removed from the PBST, and by noon Thursday, the mountain bike trails were reopened. This past winter, fat-tire bikes were allowed in the snow in the separate Sagamore Unit near Riverton.
Mountain biking in wet weather on the CCSRA trails can cause ruts and other damage to the groomed red-dirt trails. As a result, the DNR and the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew temporarily closed the trails.
“The trails are designed to repel water, but riders should know if the trails are wet and soft, they shouldn’t be out there,” said Steve Weber, the DNR’s manager for the CCSRA.
When the mountain bike trails close for weather or maintenance, the DNR posts signs at all trail entrances and the crew posts trail updates online at www.facebook.com/cuyunalakesmtb. Weber recommends checking the website for trail announcements ahead of time, especially with rainy weather conditions.
To prevent further trail damage, only DNR representatives and Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew dirt bosses, specially trained trail managers, are allowed on the trails during weather-related closures.
“The best way riders can help during a temporary closure is to refrain from coming out on the trails,” Weber said. “The less people who ride on the wet trails, the faster we can reopen them.”
For more information on trail maintenance or volunteering to maintain the trails, contact Nick Statz, Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew director of trail maintenance, at email@example.com.
Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival is June 9
The second Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival is scheduled June 9 in Crosby and Ironton.
The event includes bike racing for all ages and skill levels, guided trail rides through the CCSRA, skills camps, bike maintenance and trail preparedness clinics, along with a vendor village and Spirit of Cuyuna Art Show.
To register for racing events, go to www.CuyunaLakesMtbFest.com. Discounts are available for those who register before April 30.
Races include a timed trial on the trails near Huntington Mine Lake, the Hill Climb Challenge up Crusher, the Poker Ride starting and ending at Crosby Memorial Park and the Night Ride for experts and beginners.
Vendors and crafters interested in having a booth at the vendor village must register before May 25. Participants entering the Spirit of the Cuyuna Art Show have until June 3 to register their mountain-bike related works of art.
The Cuyuna Lakes Chamber is looking for about 70 volunteers to help the day of the event. For more information on volunteering, contact the Chamber at (218) 546-8131 or visit www.CuyunaLakesMtbFest.com for more event details.
The festival is a fundraiser for the Cuyuna Lakes Chamber of Commerce, the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew and and the Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists, a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association.
FOR UPDATES on trails in the greater Brainerd lakes area, follow Brian S. Peterson, outdoors editor, via Twitter at www.twitter.com/brian_speterson or check the trails report that will appear weekly in Outdoor Traditions in the Dispatch’s Weekend Edition. To report trail conditions of note, email brian.peterson@ brainerddispatch.com.