Contributed photo
Bikers look forward to completion of the Pelican Rapids to Perham recreational trail, running through Maplewood State Park.

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

At long last, completion of the Pelican Rapids to Perham recreational trail is in sight.

“The East (Perham) segment is finished and the McDonald, Silent Lakes and West (Pelican Rapids) segments will be completed in 2022,” says Nick Leonard, deputy county administrator.

The recreational trail, when completed, will be 10 feet wide and 32 miles long running through Maplewood State Park.

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

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

The successor to Nornes, Jordan Rasmusson, also is supportive of the Pelican Rapids to Perham recreational trail

Construction of the east segment of the overall trail, of 6.41 miles, began last summer, running from Little McDonald Lake to Perham. The trail is close to a reconstructed Highway 34. 

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.

Otter Tail County governmental employees, in previous months, were busy with easements, right of way talks, environmental meetings and other hurdles that needed to be met before the Pelican Rapids to Perham recreational could 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.