■ Merrifield Marathons open house and free trailside
The Merrifield Marathons Snowmobile Club is having its eighth annual open house and free trailside luncheon from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Jan. 18 at the Merrifield Marathon’s Center.
The free trailside luncheon will include brats, hot dogs, beans, chips, cider and hot chocolate. The clubhouse, groomer and trail drag will be on display. Members will be available to answer questions and offer trail maps and trail tips on finding the best trails.
The club has weekly rides open to anyone. The schedule of the next ride will be available at the open house and luncheon.
The Marathon’s Center is located on the Paul Bunyan Trail in Merrifield or west side of Crow Wing County Road 3 a quarter mile south of the SuperAmerica station in Merrifield.
■ Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew looks ahead.
The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (CLMTBC or “Crew”), as an active partner with the DNR and the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), is working to create a master vision for mountain bicycling in central Minnesota. This will help answer the question, “What will the Cuyuna Lakes Ride Center be?”
The master visioning plan builds upon previous planning efforts like the 1995 Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area Management Plan and 2008 CCSRA Recreation Implementation Plan. IMBA Trail Solutions is a partner in this process thanks to the help of Hansi Johnson, Regional Director of IMBA. IMBA provided the Crew a $5,000 grant to kickstart the master vision process. The Crew board of directors approved paying the remaining balance of the master vision project up to an additional $7,000. These dollars were generated from our mountain bike events: the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout, the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival, and the Cuyuna Lakes Klunker Ride and Scrap Metal Jamboree.
The DNR is the other partner in this project, providing general project oversight and coordination, and leading the community sessions as listed below.
The master vision will deliver the following:
• A community input session hosted by the Crew, DNR, and IMBA in Cuyuna Country to present the master vision and gain a local/regional input.
• A community input session hosted by the Crew, DNR, and IMBA in Minneapolis/St. Paul to present the master vision and gain statewide input.
• Community input session held via an online survey to assist cyclists world-wide who are not able to attend the community input sessions.
• IMBA Trail Solutions (pro trail designers and planners), with DNR, Crow Wing County, and Crew representatives touring the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area and Crow Wing County lands currently open to mountain bicycling recreation.
• IMBA Trail Solutions to recommend what types of trails be considered within these available areas, and ballpark development costs of each specific trail area/cluster.
It’s important to note that this master vision plan will not showcase actual trail designs on the ground; it will provide a high-level view of the future. The net takeaway from this plan will be that the Crew, IMBA, DNR, and Crow Wing County will have a master vision based on reality, based on what the mountain bicycling community desires; and based on stakeholder priorities, highlighting the investments needed to facilitate expansion. The master vision plan will also take into account what the Cuyuna Lakes Ride Center needs to accomplish to transition our IMBA Ride Center status rating from Bronze to Silver, and from Silver to Gold.
The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew is a chapter of IMBA. To learn more visit www.CuyunaLakes MTB.com.