Aerial shot of bikers on trail
October 22, 2020
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Heartland: Itasca Connection

This project is included in Parks & Trails Council’s 2020 Legislative Agenda.

2020 Legislative Summary

2020 Amount Requested2020 Amount Funded
$3.8 million$2 million

2020 Funding Source Sought

Seal of Minnesota
General Obligation Bonds

Final Language in Law

For final engineering and design of the trail segment of the Heartland State Trail located within Itasca State Park and for the construction of a trail tunnel under Trunk Highway 71.

Proposed Project Overview

The first phase of the project will extend the Itasca State Park multi-use trail system about two miles from the park’s contact station though a tunnel under Hwy 71. This segment ensures safe access to and from the park.

The Itasca – Heartland Connection Trail will be a multi-use paved surface that will serve as a strategic connection between Itasca State Park and the Heartland State Trail just east of Park Rapids. Safe access routes to the state’s most heavily visited park has long been a priority for the numerous trail users going in and out of the park each day. The trail will be located primarily in county and state-owned lands, showcasing the abundant natural and cultural resources of the region. This proposed trail would increase the outdoor opportunities for cyclists, walkers, snowmobilers, families and children, including both local residents, who are active trail users, and visitors to this region. This connector trail will also increase the park’s attendance in that visitors will have more of a choice in how they want to enter the park. The increase in traffic along this trail may decrease the amount of vehicle traffic within the park.

Project Support

Grassroots initiative in partnership with Heartland Itasca Spur Citizen Committee.

Other Projects on our 2020 Legislative Agenda