In 2013, the legislature appropriated $2,165,000 to the DNR to develop a trail running from the Bloomington Ferry Bridge to the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge Visitors' Center, as part of the Minnesota Valley State Trail. The trail was originally established by legislation in 1969 to run along the Minnesota River Valley from Fort Snelling State Park to LeSueur.
What's happening now
The Minnesota DNR is now in discussions with the city of Bloomington, the Refuge and others to map out a specific corridor for this trail segment. DNR engineers are working to determine the trail corridor and the location of any crossings by conducting soil borings and creating preliminary drawings for planning.
What will the trail look like?
This segment of the trail will consist of two trail alignments within the corridor: one with a natural surface, and one with a paved surface that will meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, allowing people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the unique characteristics of the Minnesota River Valley.
The alignments will be separated as much as possible, coming together as needed, such as to navigate around wetlands and lakes, and at the planned trail bridge over Nine Mile Creek.
The paved treadway will be ten feet wide with one-foot shoulders, for a total width of 12 feet. The natural surface trail will mostly remain narrow. The trail will be planned and developed to preserve as much existing vegetation as possible.
Engineering work will continue to provide more details for developing plans. The environmental review processes will be starting early in 2016. DNR will continue to work with a variety of agencies, staff, and other stakeholders to protect cultural and natural resources in the river valley and to ensure the completed trail provides a high-quality user experience for visitors.
Construction of preliminary infrastructure (culverts and a trail bridge over Nine Mile Creek) will likely not begin until sometime in 2017. At this time it is too early to predict when the trail will be completed.
This page was last updated 02/01/16.