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DNR urges caution on winter trails

With winter trail recreation up this year, the Department of Natural Resources advises people to be aware that some winter trails, such as groomed ski trails, are not open to bicyclists.

The DNR grooms, plows and packs trails for many types of winter recreation and asks trail users to pay close attention to which are which. There are legal restrictions on trail use in some cases and safety considerations in others.

The DNR has been getting a variety of questions this year about where fat bikes are allowed.

Fat bikes have wide, low-pressure tires designed for use on snow and sand. They are not allowed on groomed ski trails. They are also prohibited on the state’s 21,000 miles of grant-in-aid snowmobile trails, many of which are on private property, where landowners have given permission only for snowmobiling.

For winter cycling enthusiasts, there are an increasing number of places to ride fat bikes throughout the state. There are about 10 miles of groomed trails for fat bikes at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area near Brainerd.

The DNR also allows fat bikes on two state trails in the Twin Cities. In the east metro, fat bikes can ride the 12-mile stretch of the Gateway State Trail from Cayuga Street to Jamaca Avenue. In the west metro, they can ride the 7-mile segment of the Luce Line State Trail, from Vicksburg Lane to Stubbs Bay Road.

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