ST. CLOUD -- Stearns County is getting a big financial boost in its efforts to extend the Beaver Island Trail.

The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission is recommending the county receive just over $1.1-million to pave a 10-foot wide trail between St. Cloud and Clearwater.

Parks Director Ben Anderson says it starts at the southern edge of St. Cloud along County Road 75 and then terminates at Clearwater's recreational Trail near the Clearwater River.

Anderson says that the corridor is already an existing snowmobile trail in the wintertime, but this will allow the abandoned railroad bed to be used year-round.

The city of St. Cloud will then be responsible for connecting the Beaver Island Trail where it currently ends near McStop and the new terminus at Opportunity Park.

The grant still requires legislative approval and will be funneled through the Parks and Trails Legacy Fund. It's considered somewhat of a formality because lawmakers have always abided by the recommendations of the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission.

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Anderson says they will be able to start signing contracts for trail construction in July when Minnesota's 2023 fiscal year begins.

The commission is recommending a total of $12.2-million to help fund 20 greater Minnesota park and trail projects. One of those additional projects is Sherburne County's Big Elk Lake Park which will receive just over $1.2-million.


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