Tag: <span>MN River Bottoms advocacy</span>

Matt Andrews, MORC Executive Director; Assoc Regional Director of IMBA Upper MidwestI last blogged about advocacy related to the MN River bottoms issue back in August (here).  Since then, Matt Andrews has started his new job as the new Executive Director of MORC and Associate Regional Director of IMBA’s Upper Midwest region.

The MORC Board has indicated that they want him to get up to speed on the issue, so those of us who’ve been involved have been bombarding him with PDFs, emails, and links to everything we can think of.

L to R: Matt Andrews, Dennis Porter, Don Youngdahl, Kent Karjala L to R: Matt Andrews, Kent Karjala, Don Youngdahl, Dennis Porter L to R: Kent Karjala, Dennis Porter, Matt Andrews, Don Youngdahl,

And today, he got taken to school—a tour through the MN River Bottoms from I35W to the Hwy 169 Bloomington Ferry Bridge and back, narrated by longtime MN River Bottoms dirt bosses Dennis Porter and Don Youngdahl, with Kent Karjala and I chiming in regularly.

The issue of adding a paved trail to this segment of the River Bottoms will heat up in January when the MN Legislature starts its 2014 session. A DNR request for funding for a paved trail through the River Bottoms from Cedar to 169 is likely to be included in the trails bonding bill.

The MORC Board hasn’t taken a formal position yet, as it’s not yet known whether the US Fish and Wildlife Service will allow two trails through the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. I think it’s a safe bet that if only one trail is allowed and the DNR wants it paved, the MORC board will encourage mountain bikers to organize in opposition to the plan. If two trails are allowed (paved and natural surface), we’ll work to preserve the existing multiuse trail as much as possible, while collaborating on shared facilities like bridges and trailheads.

Advocacy

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I was on my way back from taking photos of the sand on the paved path south of the Bloomington Ferry Bridge trailhead yesterday (that’s another story) when I met Ron Hagen and his dog Sadie on the pedestrian bridge.

Ron Hagen

Ron has lived right at the top of the hill on Auto Club Rd since the early 90s and has been in a wheelchair a long time (farm accident).

I told him that one of the arguments by the proponents of a paved trail through a metro-area wildlife refuge is that it would be a tremendous benefit for handicapped people in wheelchairs.

He scoffed at this, based on his belief that the river and the unstable ground underneath a paved trail would quickly destroy it.

He’s a regular user of paved trails and sidewalks with his electric wheelchair and said he’ll make plenty use of the new Hyland Multi-Modal Trail Project recently approved by the Bloomington City Council since the connecting trail will go right by his house.

He gave me his email address (we’ve since connected) and is willing to show up at any public meetings.

He also said that his two neighbors who own land all the down the bluff to the river have refused to sell the land in the past and are adamant about not selling in the future.

Advocacy