In Focus: Multi-Use Trail Planned To Connect Lakeshore With Downtown Nisswa
Hikers, snowshoers, snowmobilers, and bikers will soon have an easier and safer time getting from Lake Shore to Nisswa as a new trail is in the works. The Nisswa Gull Lake Trail Steering Committee held an open house last night to speak with community members about the trail.
Officials in the towns surrounding Gull Lake had a vision: to create one unified trail around Gull Lake connecting various townships, resorts, and attractions.
“Nisswa, Lakeshore, Fairview Township, and East Gull Lake – all the resorts, all the different amenities. It’s really going to make a whole new community out of the Gull Lake area by having this trail connect everything together,” said Matthew Hill, Nisswa Parks and Recreation Director.
Once complete, the Gull Lake Trail will be 21 miles long and connect into the Paul Bunyan Trail.
“We’re really fortunate to have the Paul Bunyan Trail that runs through here, but the next phase that we need is how do we get people transporting themselves safely, and biking is a large community that comes here. How do we get them from Sandy Beach resort or somewhere down on the south end of the lake and actually let them come in to our community in Nisswa?” explained Shawn Hansen, Nisswa Chamber of Commerce Director.
The trail is being built in sections and the last leg of the trail to be built is in Nisswa.
“Nisswa really is the last piece to that puzzle as East Gull Lake has theirs in. Fairview Township has now gotten their funding and will begin their piece. The city of Lakeshore is pretty much done with theirs,” said Nisswa City Council member Gary Johnson. “So now Nisswa is sort of the missing link that will make that connection whole.”
The new section of the Gull Lake Trail will begin in Lakeshore and connect to the tunnel that crosses under Highway 371 in downtown Nisswa.
An open house about the trail was held Thursday to allow community members to learn about the project and give their input.
“These community meetings give the people along the trail route opportunities to say, “Yes, we want it,” “No, we don’t,” “Can we do something around this property?” To make sure that they have say in what’s happening in their backyard,” explained Hill.
The committee is currently working on raising funds for the trail and they hope to have it complete by 2020 or 2021.
“We’re building this trail with the assumption that it’s not going to cost our tax payers any dollars. It’s all going to be self-funded through grants, donations, and the like,” Hill explained.
The city of Nisswa is very excited about the trail and the impact it is expected to have.
“By having accessibility from all forms of biking, boating, and just people enjoying everything about the Brainerd Lakes Area,” said Hansen.
“I think what it does for our community is – sky is the limit. I really do believe it’s going to bring a lot of people to town and it’s going to be a great addition,” Johnson said.