One of the challenges we face here in rural Minnesota is reaching individuals in need of medical assistance in the remote areas of Aitkin and Crow Wing counties. Ironically, sometimes those areas may only be a few miles - as the crow flies - from our hospital emergency rooms at Crosby or Aitkin.
Recently, I accompanied Crow Wing County Commissioner Doug Houge, members of CRMC Emergency Management Services, County Land Services Department, County Sheriff’s Office, Cuyuna Fire Department, and members of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew to look at how to improve the ability to respond to an accident or other medical emergency on public land not far from the City of Cuyuna.
We visited the area where the Cruser's Kettle expert mountain bike trail is located just outside the City of Cuyuna. The visit was prompted by a recent accident, involving an individual that suffered life threatening injuries while negotiating the Cruser's Kettle expert mountain bike trail.
The accident victim was fortunate to have another rider with significant medical training on the trail, who arrived upon the scene just after the accident occurred. That individual performed an emergency tracheotomy in the field to stabilize the patient. What followed was a complicated effort to safely evacuate the patient to a local hospital emergency room just a few miles away.
While this incident involved an accident to a mountain biker, it could have happened to anyone. This public land provides for a full venue of other outdoor activities, ranging from hiking to biking, hunting, ATV riding, snow shoeing and beyond throughout all four seasons. The land is county forest land on which periodic timber harvesting occurs. There are a number of temporary logging roads, the conditions of which are based on when they were last used for logging operations.
The group reviewed detailed maps of the area, as well as visiting on foot, and by 4-wheel drive vehicles areas where the logging roads may be improved, Consideration is also being given to developing selected areas that would allow access by emergency medivac helicopter.
You can expect to see additional location markers, improved road access and updated maps to aid dispatchers in directing emergency response teams to the scene of an accident in the very near future. Thank you to all for the team effort in improving our local emergency response capability. Enjoy our great outdoors, but please be safe.