By November, the stretch of heartland trail between Detroit Lakes and Acorn Lake Road should be paved and ready for bikers, hikers and, when enough snow falls, snowmobilers.

Becker County Commissioner Ben Grimsley said at the county board meeting Tuesday, May 5, that a $1.7 million contract for construction of the Heartland State Trail, a multi-use trail from the Detroit Lakes underpass on Highway 10 East to Acorn Lake between Detroit Lakes and Frazee, has been formally awarded by the DNR.

Hough Inc. of Detroit Lakes will start work on the project this month, after submitting the low bid of $1.669 million.

The 3.75-mile stretch of 10-foot paved trail will be built on property owned by Becker County and the Minnesota Department of Transportation near the north side of Highway 10, Kent Skaar, the DNR’s senior project manager, said in a news release from the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m really excited that ground will finally be broken for the trail segment from Detroit Lakes to Acorn Lake,” said Detroit Lakes Mayor Matt Brenk. “This trail, and its ultimate goal of connecting Moorhead to Park Rapids and beyond via Detroit Lakes and Frazee, represents a tremendous economic and recreational asset to our area. I was also pleased to see that the low bidder for the project is a local reputable contractor, Hough Inc.”

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Work on the trail segment at Acorn Lake to stabilize the embankment between Highway 10 and the lake, and create a trail overlook of Acorn Lake, began last fall and will resume when road restrictions are removed this spring, according to the news release.

“This has been a great achievement in a long-awaited project,” said Frazee Mayor Ken Miosek. “This trail will provide access to recreational and other activities throughout the Frazee area as well as alternative ways of commuting in a more natural setting, providing a healthy option to those people residing in and visiting the area.”

“Bikers of all ages will be able to enjoy this trail,” added David Langworthy, owner of DL Bike Shop in Detroit Lakes.

The Minnesota Legislature authorized the extension of the Heartland Trail from Park Rapids to Moorhead in 2006, with a master trail plan completed by the DNR in June of 2011.

City, county, MnDOT, Chamber and other agency representatives have worked as a group with the DNR on the Heartland Trail. Especially notable for supporting the trail and successfully securing legislative funding have been State Rep. Paul Marquart and state Sens. Kent Eken and Paul Utke.

"This is a linchpin in regional plans to make Becker County an outdoor recreational destination,” Grimsley said. “Thank you to the persistent work individuals and organizations have devoted to getting a state trail in west central Minnesota."