Put on a lot of miles on this week. This past Saturday I attended the ATV Association of Minnesota (ATVAM) legislative conference at Virginia, Minn., followed by several in district meetings and then back up to Eveleth for an IRRRB meeting.
I am pleased to report that ATVAM adopted a resolution supporting the Mille Lacs-Malmo Loop Trail project. That support included prioritizing the $1.5 million proposed project as one of ATVAM’s top legislative priorities for this year.
I met with the Aitkin County Commissioners this week. Later during that meeting the board passed a new county ATV ordinance. The ordinance opens all county gravel roads to ATV traffic. Congratulations to our area ATV clubs and the staff of Aitkin County. This is another important step in continuing our area’s reputation as an ATV-friendly community.
The Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area Advisory Committee also met this week. We discussed the work plan for constructing new mountain bike trails. DNR Parks and Trails was informed that it may be necessary to do an “Environmental Assessment Worksheet” before work can start. We are reviewing whether this extra administrative step is really necessary.
Members of the local ATV, snowmobile and mountain bike clubs, Crow Wing County and Cuyuna Chamber officials and interested citizens met last might at the Ironton Legion Post to discuss options for developing connector ATV trails that would link the local business districts with the several dedicated ATV trails that are close by. This project is still in the concept stage, but progress was made in examining possibilities.
The Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) meeting dealt primarily with items involving the range cities north of us. Since it’s a 120-mile drive up there, I allowed extra time to meet separately with IRRRB Commissioner Mark Philips and key staff members to discuss additional ways IRRRB can assist our area.
For those not familiar with the IRRRB, the Cuyuna, Mesabi and Vermillion Iron Ranges make up Minnesota’s primary mining district. IRRRB service area boundaries are delineated by school districts. Here the service area includes all of the Crosby-Ironton and Aitkin School Districts. Those portions of Aitkin and Crow Wing County, including the cities, townships and school districts are eligible to apply for and receive assistance from the IRRRB, primarily for public infrastructure projects and economic growth opportunities.