Proposed state bike trail moves forward - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Proposed state bike trail moves forward

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MANTORVILLE, Minn. (KTTC) -- There might be another reason to brush the dust off your 6-speed and pump up the tires. More miles of paved bike trails could be coming to southeastern Minnesota.

Mutterings of a new 35-mile bike path that would connect Rochester to Owatonna have been going on since 1997, but finally, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together.

You don't have to travel far in Rochester to find miles of paved trails.

"The thing about the trail for us is that there is no traffic, so the kids and the family can all ride and we can just go for a while and I don't have to worry about cars, vehicles, so that has been great," said Jennifer Dole, of Kasson.

Master plans for the Stagecoach path have it connecting the Douglas trail to Rice Lake State Park, just east of Owatonna.

"It's going to go thru the communities of Byron, Mantorville, Wasioja, Dodge Center and Claremont," explained Joel Wagar, with the Minnesota DNR.

Dole enjoys biking, and said she'd do it more if a trail was near-by.

"Honestly, we don't do it a lot because we do have to put bikes in the back of our vehicle, so a bike rack would be helpful, but having a bike trail even closer would be better," said Dole.

"I think anyone in any of the communities would say they would love to see this trail tomorrow," stated Wagar.

While many in attendance at the open house are looking forward to more places to bike, there are a few naysayers.

"It's things like privacy issues and how the trail is managed, what kinds of uses are permitted on the trail, those are the primary concerns people have," explained Wagar.

But for the Dole family, the idea is nothing, but smooth sailing.

"The idea that you can camp, maybe get on your bike and ride 20-miles in a day and back, that would be great," said Dole.

If you missed Tuesday night's meeting but are interested in learning more you can attend a meeting this Thursday at the City Hall in Byron, or next Monday at the Senior Center in Owatonna. Both of the meetings run from 4:30 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.

The DNR is accepting comments on trail plans thru September 2nd. We're told construction could begin in as soon as 3-years or maybe even more than 10. At this point a time frame for completion is incredibly vague.

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