Fast forward 46 years and you may be surprised to see that only 11 miles of the 110-mile trail corridor for the Casey Jones is paved and another 9.5 miles is natural surfaced. “You could look at it as not much done over 40 years, or you could look at it as a lifetime’s work,” explained Bruce Johnson, a board member for the Friends of Casey Jones Trail.
The 200 members of the Gateway-Brown’s Creek Trail Association make up one of the most active Friends groups in the state, for good reason: The trail itself is the most heavily used trail in Minnesota.
“We have volunteers that do everything from cleaning up the trail to lobbying for our share of bonding money with the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota,” said John Oldendorf, president of the trail association and a board member of the Parks & Trails Council. This association has worked hard to expand the trail. They credit their success with expansion to getting to know people and communities along the potential trail.