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Range ATV Clubs Creating Nation's Largest Trail System
Minnesota Ag Connection - 11/08/2019

Three area ATV clubs are collaborating to fully connect their trail systems. When completed in 2020, 1,000 miles of ATV trail will be linked and span across northeastern Minnesota, making it one of the largest interconnected trail systems in the nation.

Quad Cities ATV Club (Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert, Mountain Iron), Prospector Trail Alliance (Ely, Babbitt, Embarrass, Tower, Soudan) and Voyageur Country ATV Club (Cook, Orr, Crane Lake) will soon be connected to one another and to the Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area in Gilbert which is also undergoing a major expansion. All of the trails will be environmentally permitted.

"Riders will be able to visit our region and spend a weekend or an entire weeklong vacation riding an extensive, rural, forested trail system," said Harold Langowski, Ely city clerk. "The economic impact of this project could be a game-changer for the region's tourism industry."

According to a 2017 outdoor recreation study conducted by Outdoor Industry Association, Americans spend over $51 billion each year in outdoor recreation, which includes their expenditures related to their trips, gear, accessories and vehicles. $35 billion of the $51 billion is related to their trips. Consumer spending for off-roading surpasses that of both hunting and fishing. In Minnesota there are more than 304,000 ATVs currently registered for recreational use.

"Investments into outdoor recreation result in healthier communities and a healthier economy. Our trails and other outdoor amenities are often used as a business recruiting tool," said Mark Phillips, Iron Range & Resources commissioner. "We are fortunate to live in a region that has beautiful natural landscapes that people are drawn to and want to experience."

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation provided a Regional Trails grant to help pay for trail connector construction. For grant funding information email Jim Plummer or call him at 218-274-7006.

The project received support from more than 18 other funding sources including the Federal Recreational Trail Program, Greater Minnesota Regional Parks & Trails Commission, Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, State of Minnesota Capital Bonding, St. Louis County, Crane Lake Township, Crane Lake Visitor & Tourism Bureau, Crane Lake Snowmobile Club, Voyageur Trail Society, Portage Snowmobile Club, Camp Five Township, Fall Lake Township, Morse Township, Portage Township, Trails End Resort, Lake Country Power, Ely-Winton Rod & Gun Club, Twin Metals, Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative, Polaris, and private individuals.

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