|7/16/2020 3:34:00 PM|
Snowmobilers working with North Branch to replace part of Sno Drifters trail
Developments and sales of large tracts of land are beginning to put some pressure on the Chisago County snowmobile trail system. A good portion of the off-road sledding mileage is only in the system courtesy of easements worked out with owners-- and a growing number are selling off or subdividing.
North Branch Sno-drifters snowmobile club, for instance, will be losing a parcel directly across Highway 95, from the main clubhouse.
The North Branch Parks, Trails & Open Space committee is involved in looking at where the route can be shifted to, as an option right now is through a city park. The city council is slated to get involved in the discussion July 28.
Nate Sondrol, North Branch GIS and Parks Dept., said the use of the trail section has been under private agreement and the landowner has asked the club to find someplace else for trail.
The club went to the city to help review if the route the club likes is even an option. The current alternative is through Harder Park, to the east of the club facility.
Sondrol said, “At PTOS we have talked about this and snowmobilers have had input with other developments.” He said impacts of growth on trails is a common discussion.
The Sno-Drifters keep groomer equipment and other club items in the headquarters, and without this major north-south trail connector, the building location won’t be useful.
The Department of Natural Resources, which disperses grants for snowmobile trail upkeep, etc. expressed to Sondrol that the Harder Park section impacts a quality hardwood swamp ecosystem. Sondrol is waiting to learn more from state staff, saying, “We need to first figure out, is this even an option?”
The council meeting July 28 should also include some PTOS member input and the public can send comments by email to the city staff or to individual council members and watch the council meeting on the city website.
North Branch city meetings have remained open to the public but the occupancy of the council chambers is restricted.