Russell Heittola of the Cuyuna Iron Range Riders submitted the trail proposal.
ridden on ATVs in the Northwoods area since 1993.
Riding on the property prior to county ownership was what's often referred to as "incidental use," meaning it was not officially designated and occurred under private ownership.
"The reason for it is to save them for people to use," Heittola
"The property should be open to everybody. ...
That property has been used by all user groups in the past and that's what we're trying to preserve."
said grants-in-aid designation from the state would ensure this preservation while also offering other perks, such as violation enforcement, map publication, trail signage and trail ambassadors.
proposal is not exclusive to ATVs but includes use of trails for everybody.
said other user groups are able to submit trail proposals to the county using the same application procedure he
used, if they wish to seek trails specifically designated as non-motorized.
"I filled out a proposal for it and I submitted it to the county," Heittola
"The process is ongoing, so if someone else wants to go out there and designate walking trails, bicycle trails, more snowmobile trails, they have the right to.
They just have to go through the process."
Designation of the trail system would make it more accessible to the public while offering potential future linkages with other existing trail systems, including the Southern Loop trail and the Miller Black Bear Area trails, Heittola
"Are we hoping that it brings more people into the area?
Yes, we are," Heittola
said it is not his
group's intention to supercede any other groups interested in access to the property and he
has communicated with those associated with the proposed bicycle trail.
"Conversation is good.
It gets people to the table, it gets people talking. ... I'm always open to that," Heittola