We’ve worked in 13 states and ridden in 20 so far this year, adding Minnesota to this list this past weekend. You can imagine that we see every imaginable landscape through our travels and we happen to find natural beauty and value in all of them – even across I-70 through Kansas, or in the swampy bogs of Louisiana.
We didn’t have to try hard to find natural splendor in Grand Marais, MN. Talk about scenery: grandiose vistas over sea-like Lake Superior, paper birches and pines that frame every panorama, glacial water bodies begging for a quick dip of your gams, giant ferns and their tightly clenched fronds littering Technicolor-green meadows, and water that meanders through it all.
A place where you’d expect singletrack trails, naturally. But the main recreation opportunities in this northeast section of Minnesota involve water: canoeing the Boundary Waters, sailing Lake Superior, kayaking the waterways that feed it. Not too much skinny trail to speak of, but the Superior Cycling Association and the Superior National Forest are changing that.
A collaborative project between the bike club and the Forest Service started a few years ago as a way to increase singletrack in the Forest and create more dirt-based tourism opportunities in Grand Marais, an otherwise snowed-in town that sees most of its tourism between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The Forest Service identified funding sources to have professional trail builders design almost 20 miles of intermediate-level flowy singletrack in the woods. Now that the project is ready to be cut into the ground, over 100 Boy Scouts are coming to town this week to help build it.
For the adventure-seeking, you can already string together hundreds of miles of logging roads, dirt roads and doubletrack in the Superior National Forest (trust us, we found out the hard way). The riding will be all the sweeter with the new singletrack close to town.
Thanks to the Superior Cycling Association and the Forest Service for hosting us this past weekend. Grand Marais is a place we’d go back to, for its beautiful nature and people.