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Construction begins on Beaver Bay Trailhead
Photo: Bonnie Hundrieser of ARDC poses with partners who helped to create the six interpretive kiosks for the Trailhead that will teach people about the history and resources of the mid-North Shore Region. Left to right are Lee Radzak, North Shore Scenic Drive Council; Bonnie Hundrieser, ARDC; Joan Arola, Bay Area Historical Society, Mel Sando, Lake County Historical Society, and Maggie King, Bay Area Historical Society
An Aug. 5 groundbreaking ceremony launched construction of a $2.7 million trailhead project at Beaver Bay. With a decade of work behind them, a host of groups and agencies are finally seeing the fruition of their ideas for a stopping place along the North Shore that better serves their needs.
“It takes that kind of vision to make things like this happen,” said Krysten Foster, Lake County highway engineer.
Celebrating the collaborative efforts of so many agencies, the groundbreaking event acknowledged late Congressman Jim Oberstar and late commissioner Paul Bergman (Lake County) for their efforts in the project’s early stages.
According to Bonnie Hundrieser, Arrowhead Regional Development Commission senior planner, the new facility will be a trailhead for the Gitchi-Gami State Trail.
“It will also serve as a key wayside rest for visitors traveling on Highway 61,” Hundrieser said.
The trail will cover 88 miles along the North Shore for bicyclists, inline skaters and hikers, with finished segments currently adding up to 29 miles of paved recreational trail, including a newly completed portion between Beaver Bay and Silver Bay. ARDC acted as staff for the North Shore Scenic Drive Council, which led the project effort. Hundrieser said the effort “included the partnership of many different groups and agencies to address the goals of the project including the City of Beaver Bay, Lake County, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Lake County Historical Society and the Bay Area Historical Society.”
The Beaver Bay Trailhead facility will be seasonal, and will consist of plumbed restrooms, paved paths, parking for cars and recreational vehicles, and picnic areas. Historical information kiosks are also planned, and according to Foster, “It will serve as a stopping point for motorists traveling the North Shore Scenic Drive, and will better connect local residents within their own communities with walking trails and sidewalks.”
With construction planned to begin immediately, Foster is optimistic that a mid-summer 2015 opening is a realistic completion target for the trailhead facility.
“Our current plan is to complete as much work as possible in Beaver Bay, and hopefully Silver Bay, this year and finish early next season,” Foster said.
ARDC looks at comprehensive planning and development on a regional level, working in the counties of Lake, St. Louis, Koochiching, Itasca, Cook and Carlton. In this instance, the group sees the trailhead as a venue that will help the local economy while supporting the wellbeing and health of visitors and residents alike. The leadership role of the North Shore Scenic Drive Council was motivated by a mission to promote the byway by improve the experience of travelers.
The DNR’s Lake Superior Coastal program contributed to the engineering and design costs of the project with the remaining portion funded by Lake County.
“Thanks to the efforts of (the late) Congressman Oberstar and Commissioner Bergman, funding from this federal transportation enhancement program can be used for trail improvements like this,” said Foster. LHB was the design company for the project, with CJ Fernandez working with the Duluth firm on landscape design.
Relying primarily on federal funding sources, Lake County has also designated some state aid to work on roads radiating from the site at the same time.
“It’s good timing for the roadwork since the other pieces of the funding have come together at this time,” Foster said. Lake County money will go toward reconstruction of County Highway 4 in Beaver Bay, repaving County Highway 5 through Silver Bay and the trailhead parking lot. A $100,000 DNR Legacy Grant is intended to pay for some of the amenities on site, such as picnic tables, benches and landscaping.
Kitty Mayo is a North Shore-based freelance writer.Previous Construction Articles:
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