Detroit Mountain Recreation Area continues to improve on what they offer: They are paving and landscaping new areas, improving the bike trails, adding a natural play area, and making another parking lot by the tubing facilities.

"The land acquisition (parking lot) occurred in early 2019 and construction on the bike trails and tubing facilities parking lot began earlier this summer," Jeff Staley, Detroit Mountain's General Manager, wrote in an email. "Construction on the play area is expected to begin Sept. 9."

Staley shared that the mountain can fund these new developments largely because they received $1.25 million through the DNR's Legacy Grant. The City of Detroit Lakes also provided $100,000 and the mountain is paying $250,000 out of pocket for the project.

While the mountain is making improvements, the natural play area is the only new feature being added.

"The play area will include exploratory features made of natural materials like logs and boulders, as well as some commercially produced elements consisting of a tunnel and slide. The entire area will blend and fit in with the natural landscape," Staley wrote.

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"The play area will sit adjacent to both our ski run and bike skills park and will be utilized year-round as an alternate form of play for both of those activities," he continued. "The area will also be incorporated into our instructional programming for skiing and biking as a place to take a break, but still have some sensory activity."

The fee for using the natural play area is still to be determined. Staley thinks that they will probably follow the same structure that they use for hiking: charging $5 per vehicle.

"The user fee helps support expanding our recreational offering, maintenance, and staffing of the lodge facility seven days per week during the summer months," Staley wrote.

All of the grant projects will be available by June 30, 2020 at the latest. Staley believes that the new parking lot and natural play area will be completed well before that, likely in upcoming weeks.