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County Board approves bike trail contracts

The Lake County Board of Commissioners approved a pair of resolutions that will begin the process of building the proposed mountain bike trail and trailhead between the Split Rock River and Beaver Bay during its meeting Tuesday in Two Harbors.

The first resolution awarded a bid to MK Engineering Inc. for wetland delineation and trailhead and the proposed design trail for $9,917. The contract with the company also includes additional fees of $90 per hour for meetings and $405 per mile of additional trail. The hope is MK will be able to complete delineation before the leaves fall so the county can complete its environmental assessment worksheet over the winter.

The county also approved a quote from Jake Carsten of Dirt Dojo in Austin, Texas, for trail development consulting services. Dirt Dojo's estimate is $25,150 for time and materials for approximately 25 miles of trail and is not to exceed $28,000. Carsten will flag the proposed trail and create a GPS map of the flagged trail. In addition, Carsten will be creating a description of the trail that includes the length, difficulty and features of the trail.

Lake County land commissioner Nate Eide told the board that Carsten has an internationally recognized reputation and has worked to design mountain bike trails in the U.S. and Europe and has also worked for the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Both the MK contract and the Dirt Dojo contract will be paid through grants awarded to the county through Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program.

Over the past two years, Eide and others from Lake County have worked to create a tentative plan that includes 50 miles of trail that would be built within an area bounded by the Split Rock River, Lake County Road 3, Lax Lake Road and Highway 61. Eide has previously estimated the cost of completing the trail at about $20,000 per mile, or about $1 million overall with another $1 million for trailhead parking and restrooms.

The county is also seeking funding for the trails through the Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Commission. Eide told the board he would be leading representatives from the GMPTC on a tour of the proposed site of the trail and he feels that looking at the site bodes well for the possibility of Lake County receiving a grant from Minnesota's Legacy Fund. Last year, Lake County applied for nearly $2 million in Legacy funding that also included a promise of an in-kind match from the county of about $190,000.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb started as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle in August 2015. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and previously worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. He is the beat writer for the Lake County Board of Commissioners, Lake Superior School District board of education and high school sports in Lake County. 

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