By the end of the summer, Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in Ironton (north of Brainerd) will be better equipped to handle the growing number of visitors arriving to ride the 25-mile single-track mountain bike trail system that opened in 2011.
Local officials and representatives of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Explore Minnesota Tourism and the local mountain bike club broke ground today for new facilities at the Pennington Access Trailhead on Miner’s Mountain Road, between Huntington Mine Lake and Pennington Mine Lake.
The new facilities — which will benefit bikers, boaters and other visitors to the area — will include:
- 96 additional parking spots.
- Changing stations.
- A picnic shelter.
- A new walkway with waterfront access to Huntington Mine Lake.
- A vault toilet.
“It’s been exciting to see the growth in popularity of Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area these past few years,” said Park Manager Steve Weber. “If you like to bike or fish, this place is hard to beat, especially now that we’re making these much-needed improvements.”
In addition to the trailhead amenities, the DNR plans to add a boat clean-and-drain area
to help reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species by providing a designated place for boaters to dispose of unwanted bait, drain bilge and bait water, and remove all plants, mud and organisms from their boat before launching it elsewhere. The boat clean-and-drain area will be near the existing public water access at Pennington Mine Lake, which the DNR stocked with about 2,000 rainbow trout following the groundbreaking event.
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area will also be getting three yurts this summer. Yurts are round tents set up on wooden platforms and furnished with bunk beds, tables, chairs and a wood stove. The yurts, each of which will sleep up to six people, will be built on the west side of Yawkey Mine Lake this summer. The yurt location is northeast of the existing campground, which has 25 first-come, first-served campsites and a group camp, with showers and flush toilets typically available from April through October.
Funding for the new facilities is from bonding and 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 sales tax revenue and may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.
For more information, including a map showing where the new facilities will be built, visit www.mndnr.gov/cuyuna or contact the DNR Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.