Our group and many citizens are working to preserve one of the most treasured, natural surface, multi-user trails in the Twin Cities metro area at the Minnesota River Valley Bottoms in Bloomington, MN. We want to save the area from an outdated, fiscally irresponsible, and non-sustainable paved trail. There are many people in the cycling, hiking, jogging, and birding community, as well as many tax payers and nature enthusiasts that are against a paved trail.
The proposed trail is in a major flood plain for the Minnesota River. The area is prone to massive flooding. Building a paved trail in a flood plain is not sustainable due to the natural fluctuations of the Minnesota River.
We would like to see the current trail preserved in its natural state. We are for some minor improvements such as signage, restrooms, bridges, culverts, and boardwalks to provide environmentally friendly stream crossings and drainage. The fiscal cost of keeping a natural trail would be much less, and the environmental impact much less damaging, than a paved trail.
Please read the following statement and consider adding your name in support. The petition will be presented to the various government land managers and elected officials who will soon be deciding the fate of the Minnesota River trails. We welcome your support!
STATEMENT OF SUPPORT:
We believe that the Minnesota River Valley Trail from the vicinity of Old Cedar Avenue to Bloomington Ferry Bridge trailhead should be designated, developed, and preserved as a natural surface, multi-use trail open to hikers, runners, cyclists, nature enthusiasts, and the community. The only needed improvements to the already existing natural surface trail should be restroom facilities, bridges, culverts and boardwalks to provide environmentally acceptable stream and drainage crossings. Some minor re-routing and surface maintenance work may also be required to minimize rutting, erosion and pothole formation in the trail surface. Improving and maintaining the existing natural surface trail would have almost no environmental impact and there would be only minimal costs associated with such a trail. We believe that a natural trail would be more appropriate for the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and more in line with the activities of the users of the entire area. This area is subject to periodic severe flooding. Any asphalt, graded gravel, or crushed limestone surface will require frequent and expensive re-building with adverse effects on both the National Wildlife Refuge, and the environment.
Please join us by signing the petition.
Minnesota River Valley natural flood plain: A brief look at surface and soils currently present
The current surface soil is the product of many flood events that have been naturally occurring for thousands of years, including the nine major flood events in the past ten years from 2004 to 2014. The video highlights the phenomena of silt deposits and sand erosion. The silt deposits have been increasing in size and magnitude in the recent flood events leaving deposit that are as high as six feet deep that are hundreds of yards long, and hundreds of yards wide. The flood plain conditions highlight another reason that any paved trail development will have high costs to develop and maintain. Paved trails in the Minnesota River Valley area will require a great deal of funding to reopen after flood events. After viewing you should have an understanding of true challenges of developing an unsustainable paved trail on a flood plain.
The current natural trail has co-existed in this flood plain for over twenty fives years without any cost($0.00) to Minnesota citizens / taxpayers. A natural trail can and does coexist in the Minnesota River Valley Flood plain. The fiscally responsible compromise plan for the area would be a managed “natural” trail with infrastructure improvements such as bridges, signage and areas near trail head locations with paved sections that are ADA compliant.