Category: <span>Advocacy</span>

Back in June I blogged about the weekly youth mountain biking group rides I was co-leading all summer, one of my activities as a CROCT board member.

As part of that collaboration with the Northfield Public Schools Community Services Division, we recently took the kids and some parents on an overnight youth group trip to the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System.

I’ve published a long blog post with dozens of photos about the trip here: CROCT leads an overnight youth group mountain bike trip at Cuyuna Lakes.

CROCT youth trip - trail

Advocacy Group rides Organizations

Fellow CROCT board member Marty Larson and I are co-leading weekly youth mountain biking group rides all summer, a partnership with Northfield Public Schools Community Services. It’s turning out to be a big hit, as you can see from these photos. And we’re pleased that over half of the kids thus far are girls.

It’s a big advantage to have a mountain bike trail (CROCT’s Sechler Park trail in Northfield) that young kids can ride their bikes to on their own or with their parents. Sechler Park is connected to a paved bike/walking trail adjacent to downtown Northfield that goes under Highway 3 and over the Cannon River.  It also parallels the Mill Towns Trail between Northfield and Dundas.

And this is turning out to be good PR for CROCT.  Building and maintaining mtb trails that serve ourselves and other adults is good. But going out of our way to get youth involved is better.  Kids help spread the word, they get their parents involved, and we’re thinking it will help with our fundraising and getting local sponsorships.

CROCT community services youth group ride 1 CROCT community services youth group ride 3 CROCT community services youth group ride 7

CROCT community services youth group ride 4 CROCT community services youth group ride 5 CROCT community services youth group ride 6

Advocacy Group rides

Over three dozen trail workers (including 15+ kids) showed up at Rice County’s Caron Park on Saturday (National Trails Day) to work on the first segment of a CROCT mountain bike trail there (I’m a board member). The weather was gorgeous and the bugs were non-existent. Under the direction of trail steward and CROCT board prez Marty Larson, the crew worked from 9 am to noon.

The results? Amazing!

CROCT loop 1 Caron Park CROCT loop 1 Caron Park CROCT loop 1 Caron Park

We don’t yet know the mileage on the new intermediate-level segment that we’re currently calling Loop 1, but it’s significant and it’s going to be a blast to ride. (If you stay connected via the CROCT Facebook page, Twitter feed, email newsletter, or Google Group discussion list we’ll alert you when the trail officially is open to ride.)

We broke for lunch and beverages at noon. Milltown Cycles in Faribault donated and served the hot dogs, brats and pop. Bauers Southside Liquor in Faribault donated and served a great selection of beer:

CROCT membership picnic 2015 - Caron Park CROCT membership picnic 2015 - Caron Park CROCT membership picnic 2015 - Caron Park

After lunch, we raffled off some swag donated by Milltown Cycles to CROCT members in attendance. John Ebling and Kevin Keane won helmets and Jeff Kreis won a jersey. Four others got 3-packs of cycling socks: 

Advocacy Events Fundraiser Trail work

Peter Hark is a resident of rural Northfield, the DNR’s Field Operations Manager State Parks and Trails, and a Founding Supporter of CROCT.  He joined me and Marty Larson on his first ride on the Sechler Park MTB trail on Wednesday, a day off for him because it was his birthday. He seemed to enjoy the ride and was complementary on what he saw. For a relatively new mountain biker, he’s not half-bad, and if he got a proper mountain bike with better tires he would definitely be more than marginally adequate.

Marty Larson, Peter Hark Marty Larson, Griff Wigley

Advocacy Parks People

With my CROCT board member hat on, I attended the BikeNorthfieldBikeNorthfield steering committee meeting at the Northfield Public Library last night, as the agenda (PDF) included a discussion with City staff leaders (City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller, City Engineer/Director of Public Works Dave Bennett, and Engineering/GIS Technician Jasper Kruggel)  about two upcoming street improvement projects that concern bicyclists: 3rd St. & Hwy 3; and Woodley St from Division to Prairie.

Advocacy

L to R: Rice County District 5 Commissioner Jeff Docken, Marty Larson, Jeremy Bokman CROCT Board members Marty Larson, Jeremy Bokman and I had lunch yesterday at Tandem Bagels with Rice County District 5 Commissioner Jeff Docken.

It was a follow-up to the meeting that Marty, Jeremy and I had last August with Jake Rysavy, Rice County Parks & Facilities Director in which he expressed support for exploring the possibility of mountain bike trails at Caron Park and McCullough Park/Campground.

McCullough Park is in Jeff Docken’s district and he seemed intrigued about the possibility of having mountain bike trails on the large tract of park property across from the newly remodeled campground on Shields Lake.

See the August 21 photos in this CROCT blog post when Marty, Jeremy and I did a walk-through of McCullough. As you can see, the property has both a large sloping prairie and many ravines, making it ideal for mtb trails of all ability levels. And being adjacent to a trail head on a lake with a campground, picnic shelter, rest rooms, showers, boat access, etc, one could imagine McCullough becoming a destination mountain bike park someday.

We’ve expressed our preference for creating beginner-to-advanced mtb trails at Caron Park first. It’s situated half way between Faribault and Northfield, a more convenient (15-minute drive) for CROCT trail workers from both cities who would be investing hundreds of volunteer hours in constructing trails there. And after gaining a season’s worth of experience with trail-building at Caron, we would be in a better position to assess what we could accomplish at McCullough, a more demanding venue.

The next step will likely be for this to be an agenda item on an upcoming meeting of the Rice County Board’s Parks and Facilities committee before it goes to the full Board. The wheels of government don’t always move quickly but it’s possible that we could be authorized to dig at Caron Park this year.

Advocacy Trails