boy biycling along trail

State of the Trails Reports

2018-2019 State of the Trails Report

Our second edition of State of the Trails Report was released July 2019. This report analyzes data from all 22 paved state trails in Minnesota to assess the condition of the pavement and provides recommendations for keeping Minnesota State Trails in good condition going forward.

OUR KEY FINDINGS

Overall, Minnesota’s paved state trail system is in good condition

Graph of trail conditions
click to enlarge

75%  Excellent or Good (447 miles)

20%  Fair (121 miles)

6%  Poor or Very Poor (32 miles)

But, conditions are declining and without action, could prove dire in coming years

  • Between 2016 and 2018, the trails in excellent or good condition fell from 79% to 75%, while those in poor or worse condition increased from 4% to 6%.
  • If current trends continue, we project that only 50% of state trails will be in good or excellent condition by 2030.

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS

Establish a standard of 25-50-25

Graph showing 25-50-25 standard

A reasonable standard would be to keep 25% of the system’s trail surfaces in excellent condition, 50% in good, and 25% in fair.

Accelerate trail rehab to 24 miles annually

Graph

The MnDNR’s currently completes about 14 miles of trail rehabilitation annually.

At this rate, by the year 2034 less than half of state trail miles will be in excellent or good condition, in other words, the majority will be fair to very poor condition.

Fund trail rehab at $4.8 million annually

We estimate maintaining a 25-50-25 standard will cost approximately $4.8 million annually.

This assumes rehabilitating 24 miles annually at an average cost of $200,000 per mile.

Interactive Map of the Data

Past Reports

state of the trail report cover

2017

Our Key Findings:

  • 79% of state trail miles are in either excellent or good condition.
  • Only 26 miles of state trails are in poor condition, and 90 miles are in fair condition.
  • However, Minnesota State Trails are approaching a tipping point. Without adequate planning and funding, half the state trail system is at risk of being in poor or fair condition by 2023.
View full report (PDF)