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DNR shares update on 'Border to Border' route

This group of vehicles followed the proposed B2B route through Cook County. Photo by Scott Benolken
This group of vehicles followed the proposed B2B route through Cook County. Photo by Scott Benolken

Discussion continues throughout northern Minnesota, including here in Cook County, regarding a proposed Border to Border Touring Route. The route is 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.

To date, county officials in at least one Minnesota county have expressed public concern about the B2B. Officials in Clearwater County passed a resolution opposing the touring route, a request the DNR fulfilled by rerouting through the county on only paved roads.

There have been concerns expressed publicly about the B2B in Cook County, including a fear that the roads on the proposed route will not hold up to an increase in motorized traffic. There are also concerns that vehicles could damage trout streams and sensitive areas of the forest, including wetlands. Also shared by Cook County residents were concerns about invasive species coming in from vehicles using the touring route. In addition, some expressed concern about who will pay for the roads if they’re damaged.

Others, meanwhile, state the fact the roads that would be included in the touring route in Cook County are public roads. Furthermore, Cook County is the only county to date to draft a resolution supporting the B2B. That notion was spearheaded by Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk, though the resolution never made it before the full county board for an official vote.

There are some changes to who the DNR has working on the project moving forward, including the fact Mary Straka is no longer officially working on the B2B project.  Taking over for Straka is Andrew Brown, a natural resources specialist with the DNR based in Grand Rapids. He is now the project lead on the B2B.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Brown for an update on the Border to Border Route.
 

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