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The Uneven Successes of Minnesota's 60-Mile Root River Bike Trail

The Root River Trail has fallen short of the "economic savior" status some were hoping from it, but it has also exceeded expectations in some towns along the route.

"The impacts of the Root River Trail System on the communities along it resemble the paved path itself: turns that veer one way, then another," reports Mike Cronin.

"During the summer of 2009, the path generated about $2.3 million from those who used it, the [2010 Department of Natural Resources] report [pdf] said. While overall use of the trail since the mid-1990s has declined 38 percent — to about 112,000 user hours in 2009 from roughly 179,000 in 1997, according to the report – homegrown residents such as Nethercutt’s newest legal colleague, Greg Schieber, are riding it more often."

The impact of the trail on the local economy is of special consequence because it used state dollars for funding back in the early-1980s (and on an extension in the 1990s) and cuts through productive agricultural land.

The article goes on to highlight some of the attractions along the trail, such as the Aroma Pie Shop in Whalan (a town with less than 70 residents), the Houston Nature Center, and Amish country, among others.

Full Story: How has the Root River Trail System affected hamlets along its path?

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