Possible Native American remains stop bike trails - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Chris Conte

Possible Native American remains stop bike trails

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ROCHESTER (KTTC-DT)-- A controversial new bike trail project that would be built at the Indian Heights Park in Northwest Rochester is on hold because the site might contain Native American remains.

"There are people here everyday," says Robin Saner who lives next to the park.

Saner and other neighbors recently found themselves at odds with the Rochester Active Sport Club a few months ago.

"There'd be so much of it they'd have to take down a lot of trees, a lot of bushes," Saner notes about the proposed project.

The group wants to expand the trail complex to include an additional 4 miles of mountain bike trails and the Parks and Recreation board approved the plan, but neighbors say they had no idea.

"It feels a little frustrating, it's deceptive," Saner adds.

Then a few months ago the two groups started working together, and came to compromise that would only add on two new trails and not allow any type of organized races on the property.

"As we've gotten to know each other we've worked out some of these differences," notes Mitch Moore who organized a group of neighbors who live near the trails.

Things seemed to be getting better until Tuesday night, when the whole project temporarily became stuck in the mud at the Park and Recreation Department's board meeting. An archeologist from the state, told the packed board room that there might be Native American remains in the area so no new trails can be built until official conduct a survey of the land.

"This isn't about prolonging it, it's about making sure that the park is appropriately used for the long term and the future," says Larry Mortensen from the Recreation Department.

Until that study is presented to the board, no other action will be taken, which could be as late as March of 2011.

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