ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A number of trail projects underway and in development will allow many more riders to bike between Minnesota and Wisconsin.
A multimillion-dollar loop trail will be built in the next few years, connecting the two states with nearly 5 miles of paved trail as part of the new St. Croix River bridge project, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://bit.ly/1oBIkmX ).
The project also has sparked action in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, to create the county's first extensive trail system, which would connect ultimately to St. Paul.
Dave Mandel, chair of the St. Croix Bike & Pedestrian Trail Coalition, said exactly what a St. Croix County trail system would look like remains unclear, but a network that connects communities including Hudson, New Richmond, Somerset and North Hudson is being discussed.
With the current Gateway State trail, bikers have 18 miles of paved trail from outside of Stillwater to St. Paul. Work is underway to connect that trail with the Browns Creek Trail, adding another 6 miles of trail and connecting bikers to downtown Stillwater.
More trails will be connected in 2017, when the St. Croix Crossing River Loop Trail is expected to be completed. That trail will cross the Stillwater Lift Bridge, which will be converted to a bike and pedestrian bridge.
Walkers and bikers will then be able to travel up a hill in Houlton, Wisconsin, along shoulders and down to the new St. Croix River bridge before crossing and traveling up along the Minnesota side of the river.
Several people were spotted biking at the northeastern end of the Gateway State Trail near Stillwater last week, and none had heard of the new loop trail or St. Croix County's plans.
"That would be awesome," Minneapolis resident Mike Klinger said of the potential for biking from St. Paul to Stillwater, crossing into Wisconsin and going down to Hudson.
"The more trails, the better," he said.
Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com