Volunteers again nurse mountain bike trails back to world-class health
If this most recent “comeback” is anything like the first this rainy spring and summer, expect the world-class Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails to be in a class by themselves.
After being closed for about two weeks because of damage from recent rainstorms, the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (CLMBC) announced that the trail system within the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area (CCSRA) in Crosby/Ironton reopened Friday at 3 p.m. All trails will be open except the Sidewinder trail sections that have been closed since Memorial Day.
“It’s the second big storm that’s come through,” said Aaron Hautala of the CLMBC. “The first one was Memorial Day and we got through that and opened up the system in better shape than before.”
This time, it took 11 workers from the Minnesota Conservation Corps — five from Brainerd and six from Moose Lake — along with two DNR trails specialists and most of the Crew’s 30 or so volunteers to get the trail system back in shape.
“This storm was kind of a side hook. I mean, it’s like, ‘Come on already,’” Hautala said Monday. “But with this maintenance plan (the volunteers) responded. That’s the cool thing. It’s all volunteer work. If this crew wasn’t in place I’m not sure how long it would be (before the trail system reopened). If we were counting the hours, we’re approaching 100 volunteer hours already. We’ve repaired 10 to 15 trails already. It’s incredible the amount of erosion that needed to be fixed.”
Camping has remained open in the CCSRA, but Miner’s Mountain Road remains closed after a landslide caused damage to the outlook area there.
But, fortunately, the mountain bike trails are open and will be good to go for the busy Fourth of July holiday.
Well, more than good.
“It’s amazing how well-known these trails are,” Hautala said Monday. “That’s why we’re working so hard to get them up and going. They’re big for the economy and the area. But we can’t open up the system because one trail is OK. It can’t just be kinda, sorta good.
“Our whole goal was (opening) Friday,” he said Thursday in announcing the reopening. “About 90 percent of it out there — you wouldn’t have known it had rained. But the other 10 percent you could really notice. When one part is down the whole system is down. And without the Crew we don’t have the trails. This is a perfect example of that. We have about 30 (volunteers) on the roster and a good number were out there (repairing the trails the last two weeks).”
Join the CLMBC at its upcoming monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Hallett Center in Crosby. Donations to the Crew may be made to Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC) at P.O. Box 162, Deerwood, MN, 56444. All donations are tax deductible.
BRIAN S. PETERSON, outdoors editor, may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5864. To follow him on Twitter, go to www.twitter.com/brian_speterson. For his blogs, go to www.brainerddispatch.com.