Mountain bike enthusiasts have a new riding opportunity in northeast Minnesota thanks to a partnership between the Forest Service, the Iron Range Off-Road Cyclists (IROC), Minnesota and Iowa Conservation Corps, and Youth Conservation Corps. A new system of single-track mountain bike trails is located within the Lookout Mountain Multi-Use Trail system at the Laurentian Divide area, just off Highway 53, north of Virginia, Minnesota.
To celebrate the completion of these new trails and the ongoing partnership, a ribbon cutting event is planned for Thursday, September 22, 2016 from 4:00 to 6:00 P.M. The public is invited to a short ceremony and refreshments at the Laurentian Divide Picnic Area. The ribbon-cutting will be followed by a trail ride for those interested in experiencing this newest mountain biking opportunity on the Superior National Forest.
Local mountain bike riders in the Virginia area approached the Forest Service in 2014 about the idea of building single-track trails in the Lookout Mountain area. The terrain and easy access from Highway 53 presented a great opportunity to establish the first specifically designed, single-track, mountain bike trails on the west side of the Superior National Forest. Similar trails have been successfully designed and built in recent years on the east side of the Forest within the Gunflint and Tofte Ranger Districts near Grand Marais and Tofte.
For the past two years, volunteers from IROC worked closely with the Superior National Forest – Laurentian Ranger District to develop the new trails. Single-track mountain biking trails are specifically designed and built for rider enjoyment and the challenge that is part of this growing segment of outdoor recreation. Forest Service staff guided the design, layout, and construction of the trails. The majority of the on-the-ground effort to layout and construct the trails was accomplished by volunteers from IROC who dedicated hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteer hours to make five to seven miles of new trails a reality. Club volunteers have continued their dedication by maintaining the trails. Minnesota and Iowa Conservation Corps and Youth Conservation Corps crews also contributed time working on the trails.
“This project is a wonderful example of what can happen when volunteers work together with the Forest Service to provide and maintain recreational opportunities on their National Forest. If not for these volunteers this system of mountain bike trails would not be possible.” said Superior National Forest – West Zone Recreation and Wilderness Manager Tim Engrav. “This partnership also enhances the recreation and tourism opportunities available on the Iron Range and we are excited to celebrate the trail opening with IROC, the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce, and the Iron Range Tourism Bureau.”
A map and details are available on the Superior National Forest website via the Recreation tab on the home page www.fs.usda.gov/superior or directly at: http://go.usa.gov/xKgDQ