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Interest in biking and hiking in St. Croix County is growing because of the St. Croix River Crossing project under construction in Stillwater. As part of that bridge project, a bike/pedestrian loop trail will be constructed. This loop will connect Oak Park Heights, Minn., and St. Joseph, Wis. The Loop Trail will cross the St. Croix River at the existing Stillwater Lift Bridge and on the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge. Trails in Minnesota and Wisconsin will complete the loop. It will be 4.7 miles in length.
Because of the interest this loop is creating, the St. Croix Bike and Pedestrian Coalition was formed in 2013. The intent of this grassroots group is to create a bike and pedestrian trail network in St. Croix County. Currently, most of the members are from the western side of the county but the vision is for a county wide trail system which will require input from the central and eastern portions of the county. The Coalition’s long range goal is to connect the county trails to surrounding counties and trails that will eventually enable people to ride from the Wisconsin Dells to the Twin Cities.
More immediate goals of the Coalition are to develop a county wide pedestrian/bike trail system that:
• Connects to the St. Croix River Crossing Loop Trail,
• Creates safe community and recreational opportunities,
• Encourages healthy life styles,
• Promotes tourism and commerce in the greater St. Croix Area.
The St. Croix Bike and Pedestrian Coalition sponsors speakers to share information with communities and persons interested in trail issues. They have also sponsored bike tours of proposed routes.
Currently, St. Croix County has hired Toole Design Group with funds from a TAP grant, St. Croix Crossing mitigation funds and the county to develop a county wide plan. The Coalition is playing an active role on the St. Croix County Bike and Pedestrian Plan Advisory Team and is very interested in providing sound input from ALL St. Croix county residents. Once the updated bike and pedestrian plan is in place, it will pave the way for future grant money. The plan is a 20 year plan and so it is very important to incorporate input from all areas of the county. More information about the organization can be obtained from their Facebook page or website: http://www.stcroixtrails.com/ or email: email@example.com. The Coalition is more than willing to meet with interested bikers/hikers from the Glenwood City Area.
As the planning process moves forward, the county and Toole Design Group will be in contact with county municipalities about creating this plan and people should be watching for meetings in their area.