Look for maintenance crews on hunter walking trails

Hundreds of miles of hunter walking trails will be mowed throughout northeastern Minnesota prior to the start of the Sept. 13 grouse season opener, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). People are advised to watch for crews operating large mowers and other equipment on the trails.

In Koochiching, St. Louis and Aitkin counties, contractors with specialized equipment will be performing trail maintenance. DNR crews will be working in Itasca, Crow Wing and Carlton counties.

Minnesota offers 683 miles of hunter walking trails; 405 miles of them are located in northeastern Minnesota where they are popular with upland game bird hunters.

Trail maintenance is usually performed every other year to remove woody vegetation that has grown into the trails and reduce competition for beneficial plants. This late summer timing reduces regrowth of plants before the peak in hunter foot traffic.

“Upland and big game hunters alike can look forward to easier walking and better visibility this fall on the recently mowed trails,” said Meadow Kouffeld-Hansen,  DNR wildlife habitat contract specialist “Utilizing private contractors for some of the work allows us to complete more miles of trail at the optimal timing.”

Hunter walking trails are reserved for foot traffic only and are intended to provide an opportunity for hunters who want to walk and/or prefer locations away from motorized traffic to hunt with their dogs. ATVs and other motorized travel are not allowed on hunting walking trails unless otherwise signed.

Information about hunter walking trails is available at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/hwt/index.html or by contacting a DNR wildlife office.