Paul Bunyan State Trail Bridge To Temporarily Close
Those who enjoy Bemidji’s trail system may have to find an alternate route on the east side of Lake Bemidji this summer.
According to a release from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Paul Bunyan State Trail bridge over the Mississippi River east of Lake Bemidji is scheduled to be closed for repairs July 9 through the end of August.
The Parks and Trails Division of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will replace the deck, railings and certain substructure elements on the bridge.
“Although the bridge remains structurally sound for recreational use, the current 2,000-pound weight limit prevents access to this section of the Paul Bunyan State Trail by emergency and trail maintenance equipment,” said Dave Schotzko, area supervisor for the Parks and Trails Division in Bemidji. “The project will avoid conflicts with the 2018 Loop the Lake and Blue Ox Marathon, and will be completed during the 2018 construction season.”
While repairs are made, the trail will be closed at the bridge, and there is not a safe option for an alternate route.
The 115-mile Paul Bunyan State Trail extends all the way from Crow Wing State Park to Lake Bemidji State Park, north of Bemidji. It is the longest of Minnesota’s state trails and the longest continuously paved rail-trail in the country.
Funding for this project is from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.