Destination Up North 2018 Up North - Page 23

THE AREA’S HISTORY The now 30-mile long trail bike trail at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area opened to riders in 2011. It was built on land abandoned by mining companies in the 1980s and features rugged trails built on hills formed by the tailings left behind by miners. The area has a hotbed of activity during World War I and World War II when it was mined for the manganese-rich iron ore deposits discovered there. The ore was used to harden the steel needed for wartime production. Mining peaked in the region in about 1953, and came to an end in 1982 when the last reported shipment of iron ore was made. The land sat unused—officially anyway—until 1993 when the State Recreation Area was designated. “I’ve ridden amazing trails around the country, but none of those places have the people that I am blessed to consider family like the Cuyuna Lakes Recreational Area. The trails are just icing on the community cake,” said Martens. “The trails at Cuyuna run through a beautiful, pristine area of Minnesota. Along the wonderfully maintained trail there’s reclaimed forest, mining hills that provide for elevation that is hard to get in Minnesota otherwise. Plus, there are nice vistas and amazing fall colors,” he added. Martens started riding the trails at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area well long before they opened to the public in 2011. “In about 2004, I had friends in the area that were exploring and dreaming of the mountain bike trails. We were riding the piles of tailings and the hills out there in preparation for competitions,” said Martens. As the park was being developed, Martens worked closely with Aaron Hautala, the executive director of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew, to make sure the trails would offer the best riding experience possible. The organization Hautala, 41, leads works with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to repair and groom the trails along what he calls an amazing example of Mother Nature’s handiwork. “It has been 35 years since mining ended. The 600-foot-deep pits are now full of water, and a new forest has grown up on what were once unusable piles of dirt. Now in the middle of Central Minnesota you have a rocky, mountainous environment that doesn’t belong here because it was man made, but is a mecca for mountain bike riders,” said Hautala, who goes onto explain there are big plans for the future in the area. “We are very excited about the new Bike Skills and Bike Jumps Area in the Miner’s Mountain Rally Center near the parking lot that will A Place To Relax. Come Stay Randall, MN With Us! 4 Cable TV 4 Microwave 4 Refrigerators 4 RV Hookups 4 Propane Sales (320) 749-2650 120 West Sixth Street • Randall, MN 56475 • 744053fs3/11/18 BOATS · PONTOONS · WATER CRAFT Beimert Outdoors 218.746.4018 12861 County 18 SW Brainerd, MN 56401 · Daily or Weekly Rentals · Delivery & Pickup Available (Prices vary by Location) Too precious not to protect. MOSQUITO PROTECTION SPECIALS $ 50 OFF Full Season Protection $ 25 OFF The original and most trusted mosquito eliminator for over 10 years. Any Service First time customers only. Limit one coupon per property. Not valid with other offers. Call The Squad for a Free Estimate 218-316-6709 or visit 23