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Local residents hear details on motorized 'Border to Border' route

Scene outside the Cook County Courthouse June 19. Photo by Joe Friedrichs
Scene outside the Cook County Courthouse June 19. Photo by Joe Friedrichs

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council and the Minnesota 4-Wheel Drive Association, continue to host public discussions about a proposed Border to Border Route (B2B) Touring Route. The route is essentially described as a backcountry adventure tour for road legal off-highway vehicles over existing gravel or paved Forest Service, DNR or county-managed roads. The route, when finalized, will be signed and mapped. 

DNR staff and others involved with the project were in Grand Marais Tuesday, June 19, to share an update and take questions from local residents about the B2B. The meeting was held at the Cook County Courthouse.

There were questions and comments both in support of, and voicing concern about the proposed route, particularly the section in Cook County. At one point during the meeting, the event took a dramatic turn when a Cook County woman claimed she was “verbally assaulted” by another local resident who then rode off from the courthouse parking lot on a motorcycle.

Other concerns voiced Tuesday include concerns about negative environmental impacts in remote areas of Cook County, including a fear that the roads on the proposed route would not hold up to an increase in motorized traffic. There were also concerns that vehicles could damage trout streams and sensitive areas of the forest, including wetlands. Also shared were concerns about invasive species coming in from vehicles using the touring route. Others in attendance shared their concerns about spur trails, including the possibility of new trails being built along the route. In addition, some voice concern about who will pay for the roads if they’re damaged.

Speaking in support of the touring route, some local residents explained that the roads already exist, so the B2B does not include building new roads or trails. Others presented also cited the economic benefits to the county, the hope that people use this touring route will spend money in local businesses, including hotels and restaurants.

The proposed route will start at Horseshoe Bay on Lake Superior and go through Cook County on the following DNR, Forest Service and county roads:
--Arrowhead Trail

--Jackson Lake Road

--Otterlake Road

--Ester Lake Road

--Tom Lake Road

--Powers Lake Road

--Firebox Road

--Greenwood Lake Road

-- The Gunflint Trail

-- Pine Mountain Road

-- Devil Track Road

-- Ball Club Road

-- The Grade

- Bally Creek Road

-- Mark Lake Road

-- The Caribou Trail

--Clara Lake Road, back to The Grade, and continuing west from there to Lake County.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs was at the event Tuesday night at the Cook County Courthouse. He spoke with Jay Andersen on Daybreak about the public meeting. 
 

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