By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

The Pelican Rapids to Perham recreational trail will run through Maplewood State Park. 

Announced Jan. 26 at the county board meeting was that state bonding money will allow for project planning for the trail inside the park. This will be a joint effort of Otter Tail County and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The state grant totals $375,000.

“We appreciate legislative support in getting this grant approved, through the state bonding package,” said County Deputy Administrator Nick Leonard to the five-member county board of commissioners.

“Specifically, we are grateful to State Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen and our former State Rep. Bud Nornes,” Leonard added.

Construction of the east segment of the overall trail, of 6.41 miles, will begin this summer and run from Little McDonald Lake to Perham. The trail will be close to a reconstructed Highway 34. 

Several grants are going toward construction of the east segment of the Pelican Rapids to Perham recreational trail.

Other sections of the trail include areas near Silent Lakes and McDonald Lakes (west of Dent), a route west of Maplewood State Park along Highway 3 to Highway 59 and then north to Pelican Rapids.

The recreational trail, when completed, will be 10 feet wide and 32 miles long.

Much of the $14.2 million needed for construction comes from the state of Minnesota. Included is money from the State Legacy Fund.

In 2008 Minnesota voters passed the Legacy Amendment to the state constitution. The amendment increased the state sales tax by three-eighths of one percent. 

A portion of the legacy funding goes to parks and trails such as the Pelican Rapids to Perham recreational trail. Other legacy funding goes to clean water projects, the outdoor heritage fund (enhancing wetlands and habitats) and arts and cultural heritage fund.

The county has been busy with easements, right of way talks, environmental meetings and other hurdles that need to be met before the Pelican Rapids to Perham recreational trail can become a reality.

Public input meetings were held in previous months. The county board also has support for the trail from the cities of Pelican Rapids and Perham as well as organizations such as West Central Initiative and PartnerSHIP4Health.