DNR's paving project on Minnesota River Bottoms Trail in Bloomington near complete

Updated: August 20, 2019 10:39 PM

For mountain bikers, hikers and even bird enthusiasts, the Minnesota River Bottoms Trail in Bloomington is pristine ground for those who love the outdoors.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the city of Bloomington say the natural beauty of the trail at the bottom will soon be available to all with the completion of a paving project.

"I started biking down there probably when I was a kid," Dennis Porter said.

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And with the arrival of mountain bikes in the '80s, Porter's love for the Minnesota River Bottoms Trail only increased.

"Since I've been using and recreating in that area myself and another group of volunteers have been working on that trail to provide access for people, people that want that natural environment," he said.

And it's grown over the years, becoming of a trail that goes all the way from Fort Snelling to Le Sueur.

"And several segments have been completed. The Bloomington segment is considered a missing segment," Bloomington city planner Julie Farnham said.

She said when the state legislature set aside $2.1 million in 2014, it was decided that the Bloomington portion would be paved.

"The city has always maintained the desire to have the trail be ADA accessible. And accessible to multiple skill levels," she said.

On Monday the DNR started clearing and grading on the first phase of pavement, which is 1.7 miles.

Porter started an organization called 'Save the River Bottoms.' He says the trail is in a major flood plain of the Minnesota River, a bad place for a paved trail.

"The trail's been underwater now for a hundred days this summer alone," he said.

The project is a done deal. Porter said his group will continue to fight to preserve one of the most treasured trails in the Twin Cities metro area.

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Todd Wilson

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