In the Spotlight

News & Features

People in Minnesota know what it means to have a short summer, and they're eager get outside while the warmth lasts. If you need proof, look at the statistics. Minnesota has more golfers per capita than any other state. And you might be surprised to learn that Minnesota also leads the country in bicycle trails. Wisconsin is a close second. They each have about 1,300 miles of trail. In fact, one-fourth of the bike trail miles in the entire country are in Minnesota and Wisconsin. And more trails open every year.

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Riding the Munger Trail
Minnesota leads the country in the conversion of old rail beds into bike and recreation trails. One of the first, and finest, examples, is the Munger Trail - a 75-mile stretch of pavement that runs between Duluth and Hickley It might be the longest paved bike trail in the world.
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No trails in my backyard
Minnesotans love recreational trails. And while the state leads the country in the miles of bicycle trails available to residents, parks officials and trail aficionados say there's always room for more. Most often when a new trail is proposed, there is a huge outpouring of support from local residents. But not always. For example, a group of people in central Minnesota are unhappy with plans to expand the popular Lake Wobegon trail.
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Peddling Minnesota's bike trails
Minnesota has more miles of paved bike trails than any other state, but doesn't work to promote the trails as a top tourism draw. They aren't marketed heavily here at home, or outside of the state. But the money spent by recreational cyclists has meant a rebirth for some small towns, and more communities hope to benefit as the bike trail network expands.
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Biking for work as well as pleasure
A high quality of life is often cited by metro residents as one reason the Twin Cities area is a good place to live. Lush parks, lake access and an expansive recreational trail system are some of the attractions - traffic congestion is one of the downsides. One way to ease traffic flow comes when people get out of their cars and take to their bikes for the day's commute.
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The Munger Trail, with information about the Munger Trail in northeastern Minnesota

MnDOT's bicycle page, including information about the state's new bicycle map

The Rails to Trails Conservancy,a non-profit group that helps develop bicycle trails

The National Association of Reversionary Property Owners, opponents of rails-to-trails

American Trails,for general information on trail issues

Department of Natural Resources recent survey of summer trail use

Lake Wobegon Trail

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Twin Cities Bicycling Club