Taconite State Trail Planning
Public Input Opportunities - 2016
The Taconite State Trail Master Plan Draft will be available for public review starting December 1, 2016, with comments accepted through January 6, 2017.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Parks and Trails Division staff will be hosting three separate open house-style meetings during the public review period. Individuals interested in the future of the Taconite State Trail are invited to participate in any of the following meetings:
- Grand Rapids – Thursday, December 15, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the Itasca County Fairgrounds, Trailhead Building, 1336 Fairgrounds Road
- Ely - Monday, December 19, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the Vermilion Community College, Room CL 104, 1900 East Camp Street
- Side Lake - Tuesday, December 20, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the French Township Hall/Community Building, 7548 Highway 5
Attendance at a meeting is not required to provide comments. If you are unable to attend any of these meetings, the DNR invites you to review the draft plan that will be available online starting December 1, 2016.
Master Plan Draft documents available for review:
You may provide comments on the Master Plan Draft online, or submit them to the contacts listed at the bottom of this page.
The Taconite State Trail is a multi-use, multi-season trail. However, not all allowable uses can be accommodated on all sections of the trail. The following trail uses are recommended on the Taconite State Trail: snowmobiling, bicycling, hiking; horseback riding; off-highway vehicles including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) (Class I and II), off-highway motorcycles (OHM), off-road vehicles (ORV); and environmental education/interpretation. Hunting in the trail corridor will generally be allowed except where regulated or prohibited by community ordinance or state park rules and regulations.
For this plan, the Taconite State Trail corridor has been divided into eight planning segments. This is to make it as easy as possible to describe and discuss the unique resources and features along each section of trail. Here is an overview of the entire state trail corridor .
- 1: Ely to Bear Head Lake State Park (19.2 miles)
- 2: Bear Head Lake State Park to Arrowhead State Trail (19.3 miles)
- 3: Arrowhead State Trail to U.S. 53 (20.8 miles)
- 4: U.S. 53 to TH 73 (13.5 miles)
- 5: TH 73 to TH 65 (23.5 miles)
- 6: TH 65 to Parking Lot at CSAH 7 (21.7 miles)
- 7: CSAH 7 Parking Lot to CSAH 60 (13.6 miles)
- 8: CSAH 60 to Grand Rapids (14.3 miles)
All comments received during the public review period will be reviewed and evaluated to finalize the plan for the commissioner’s approval. Once approved, the new Taconite State Trail Master Plan will replace the existing plan from 1980.
About the Taconite State Trail
Authorized by the Minnesota Legislature in 1974, the Taconite State Trail is located in northeast Minnesota and extends over 145 miles from Ely (in St. Louis County) to Grand Rapids (in Itasca County). It passes through Bear Head Lake and McCarthy Beach state parks; as well as Bear Island, George Washington and Sturgeon River state forests. The Taconite State Trail intersects with the Arrowhead State Trail just west of Lake Vermilion.
A new master plan is needed to accurately reflect the developed alignments and current trail uses, with considerations for new trail uses based on the needs and demands of trail users. Input collected through the planning process from citizens, trail user groups, land administrators, and other interested citizens and stakeholders will be used to develop a new master plan for the Taconite State Trail. Upon approval, this master plan will replace the previous plan, and will be used to guide and inform management decisions into the future.