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Bonding bill includes $1.3 million for Glacial Lakes Trail extension

NEW LONDON — Now the work can begin in earnest to develop a five-mile extension of the Glacial Lakes Trail connecting New London and Sibley State Park.

The bonding bill recently signed by Gov. Mark Dayton includes a $1,299,000 appropriation to make the trail extension possible.

The funding represents a major hurdle in the project, but there remains lots of work ahead, according to Jeremy Losinski, Spicer area supervisor in the Parks and Trails Division of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Losinski said it’s too early to estimate when the trail will be built. The state will need to obtain easements along the corridor and possibly purchase some property, along with complete engineering and prepare bidding documents.

The plans call for the trail to go through the New London-Spicer school property and parallel Kandiyohi County Road 40 west of New London. The funds provide for a separated, grade crossing at the intersection with U.S. Highway 71.

The trail will be 10 feet wide and paved, and open for bicycling, hiking, and related recreational use.

The connection will benefit both the community of New London and the state park, “but the real winners are you and I and everybody who likes bicycling anywhere,’’ said Gary Bullemer, assistant park manager at Sibley State Park.

Most important, the trail provides a safe connection between the park and community in place of the road shoulder many bicyclists now use.

The extension should also make the Glacial Lakes Trail a destination for more bicyclists and hikers. The connection to the park and its overnight camping and other amenities should attract outdoor enthusiasts from a large area, he noted.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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