Mill Towns Trail Update

At the December NDDC General Meeting, our guests were five members of the Mill Towns Trail Board of Directors: LaNelle Olson, Peg Prowe, Meg Otten, Eric Johnson, and Glenn Switzer. They gave us a clear picture of the status of each leg of the future bike trail between Faribault and Cannon Falls: Faribault to Dundas (proposed), Dundas to Northfield (complete), Northfield to Cannon Falls (proposed).

The Mill Towns Trail Board members seemed very upbeat and pleased that we had invited them. They see the NDDC as a welcome ally and made it clear that when it’s done, the trail will be very good for downtown Northfield. When you can someday ride from Red Wing to Mankato or any combination of points in between, it will be a huge recreational attraction for all communities along the route.

There is no precise timeline for the completion of the segment between Faribault and Cannon Falls, but the consensus seemed to be that it’s somewhere between one and five years. The section from Northfield to Cannon Falls is longer, but seems to have easier solutions. The section from Dundas to Faribault looks to be more problematic, but its shorter.

To anyone who wants to help immediately, they suggested writing to Governor Pawlenty, Representative Ray Cox, Senator Tom Neuville, and Senator Lynda Boudreau (Faribault) showing support for the $4M bonding request that Ray, Tom, and Linda are going to introduce in the 2004 legislative session. This money will be primarily for land acquisition for the trail bed between Dundas and Faribault. However, the compelling message for the legislature is not that there are 25 miles that need funding, but that these are the final 25 miles that will complete a 90-mile trail between Red Wing and Mankato, a terrific economic and recreational asset for southern Minnesota.