Trail winds through woods, prairies and lakes at Maplewood State Park

Construction is underway on the 3.8-mile segment of the Heart of the Lakes Trail that winds through the woods, prairies and lakes of Maplewood State Park.

The Heart of the Lakes Regional Trail is a 10-foot wide, 32-mile long, multi-use recreational trail that will connect the communities of Perham and Pelican Rapids via Maplewood State Park. The trail is an important component of the state and regional trail system in west central Minnesota and is intended for use by walkers, joggers, hikers, bicyclists, dog walkers, inline skaters and snowmobilers. It provides direct access to several popular lakes and allows users to experience many breathtaking vistas.

“Building and constructing a sustainable trail through Maplewood State Park is a tremendous opportunity to create an outstanding outdoor recreational experience for future generations,” said Don DelGreco, Maplewood State Park manager. “The trail corridor will weave through remarkable natural resources, preserving the balance of stewardship and protection of those resources while providing for safe, accessible, and enriching outdoor experiences for current and future generations.”

The park will remain open during the project, which is anticipated to be completed by fall 2024. Construction updates and notification of any trail closures will be available via signs and maps at key locations throughout the park.

Project work will occur from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. Visitors are encouraged to avoid the construction area to ensure public safety and the safety of the work crews. Some sections of park trails intersecting the construction area might be closed during construction.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Otter Tail County, the cities of Perham and Pelican Rapids, the West Central Initiative and PartnerSHIP4Health partnered to develop the Heart of the Lakes Regional Trail Master Plan. Funding for trail design and development came from state bonding and the Parks and Trails Fund. The Parks and Trails Fund was created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

Ongoing updates on construction will be available on the Maplewood State Park webpage of the DNR website.

Learn more about the Heart of the Lakes Regional Trail opens in a new browser tab on the Otter Tail County website.