Rolling ahead

MARSHALL – Bike safety wasn’t the only focus of an event Monday at the Marshall Area YMCA. It was also a chance to show members of the public what’s coming next in the development of local bike trails.

The annual bicycle safety event featured activities like bicycle registration and a riding course for learning proper hand signals. But indoors, there were also map displays showing the route of the planned trail connecting the cities of Marshall and Lynd with Camden State Park. Marshall Community Services Director Harry Weilage and other local and county officials were on hand to answer questions from the public.

“The main reason we’re here tonight is to try and get some visuals” on the trail project, he said.

The planned trail will run from Wayside Rest Park in Marshall, south through the city of Lynd, and into Camden State Park. The project has been awarded more than $1 million in state Legacy Grant funds. The cities of Marshall and Lynd, along with Lyon County and Camden State Park will all work together to complete the project.

The first section of the trail to be built will be the portion within Marshall city limits at Wayside Rest Park, Weilage said.

“They’re geared up to start construction in the first part of the summer,” he said.

The new trail will be a positive addition both on the local level and a “big-picture” one, Weilage said. The opportunity for recreation and the connection to the state park will help make Marshall and Lynd destinations for more people.

“It will certainly get people to Lynd,” said Lynd Mayor Carl Klatt. “With increased bike traffic, maybe businesses would consider locating themselves in our community.”

The project also ties in to statewide goals for recreational trails, said Mary Vogel. In spite of good scenic settings for trails, very few have been developed in southwest Minnesota, she said.

Vogel is the co-director of the Center for Changing Landscapes at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. As part of her work, she has helped research and design trails projects around Minnesota, including Lyon County trails.

Weilage said after Monday’s open house, information on the trail plans will be added to the Marshall city website.

Community support made a big difference in making the Marshall to Camden trail a reality, Vogel said.

“We’ve had some very enthusiastic leadership in the Marshall area,” she said. Although it’s taken a long time to get a trail project moving here, “It seems like the group is gaining some momentum.”

Information on the trail route and construction will be posted on the Marshall city website, Weilage said.