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Minnesota named ‘Best Trails State’ by national group

American Trails has named Minnesota the “Best Trails State” of 2010, citing the 2008 Legacy Act as a means for the state to develop and maintain a top-notch trail system:

As a result [of the Act], 14.25% of funds generate by the new tax will provide funding for regional parks, state parks, and trails. Over the next year, $35 million dollars will go towards enhancing trails in parks and the construction of new trails. Minnesota was one of the first states to establish a rails-to-trails system starting in the late 1960’s. In addition to rail-trails, today the State Trails system includes 1,266 off-road trail miles.

The state has over 22,000 miles of snowmobile trails, more than 2,300 miles of Off Highway Vehicle trails, 1000 miles of equestrian trails, and over 4,400 miles of water trails. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources works with private land owners, organizations, cities, and local communities in order to help provide the population with accessible and fun recreational activities through trail use.

State DNR officials are happy with the designation.

“Active partnerships with all trail users and support groups are the cornerstone of this successful trails system,” DNR Commissioner Holsten said in a statement. “The DNR would like to thank all of our partners — including all trail providers, trail advisory groups, and trail users — for supporting Minnesota trails.”

Two Minnesotans also were honored by American Trails:

  • Ron Potter, recreation systems manager for the DNR, received a State Trail Advocacy Award. His support of the state’s trail systems in the face of budget cuts continues to ensure the availability and accessibility of trails for all users.
  • David Halsey, president of the Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club, received a State Trail Worker Award. He organized the club to reopen ATV areas in the Chippewa National Forest and became a volunteer with the Forest Service to help the two groups work together.

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