New bike park planned for Itasca County

1972497_10202401773738256_3755035519666785249_nA long, long time ago, humans arrived in Northern Minnesota on narrow, bumpy paths that wound through trees and around walls of ancient rock.

It’s the future now. People look forward to the next big thing. In the future, what we want is … a narrow, bumpy path wound through trees and around walls of ancient rock?

Ah, change. You surprise us with your simplicity.

The Grand Rapids Itasca Mountain Bike Association (GRIMBA), Minnesota DNR and City of Cohasset are planning a new mountain bike trail and park in Itasca County.

Organizers seek to locate the new park at the Tioga Recreation Area in Cohasset, already a popular spot for fishing, swimming and picnics. They’re piecing together funding now. The finished project will likely cost $1 million.

Kitty Mayo with the Scenic Range News Forum has the story in this week’s edition.

 After 10 years as an official mountain bike club, GRIMBA member Dave Parrish says that they have finally grown enough to handle a project of this magnitude. “Up to this point we have been hand-building trails with no machinery or equipment, but you can’t move big rocks or trees or roots, now we’ll be able to do that,” said Parrish.


“We are envisioning a sort of roller-coaster design, with lots of terrain, inclines and declines and corners,” Parrish said.

Beginner trails will be rolling without a lot of elevation, but gaining elevation for the intermediate level trails, and the highest level will be fairly steep and extreme.

Parrish uses descriptors like “rolling, flowing, swooping” to draw a picture of much of the trail’s layout, however, when he talks about the top level trail he said, “you will actually be horizontal when you’re going around them.”

Calling this a piece of a destination mountain bike trail system, Parrish says that the different terrain than the nearby Cuyuna trail will draw people in, giving them another trail to add to a weekend trip from Duluth’s trails, to the Cuyuna and on to Tioga. “We have old growth trees, it’s more hilly with big trees than Cuyuna,” Parrish said, adding that the different character in contrast to Duluth trails will make for excellent variety in the region.

I wrote about the Cuyuna trails last summer. Outdoor recreation is one of the most appealing opportunities for younger adults considering a move to Northern Minnesota.

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