By Ivan Raconteur
Some area residents may be tempted to use the former Dakota Rail corridor in McLeod County for recreational activities, but the DNR has some simple advice: don’t do it.
“No one should be on the trail at this time, especially not on a four-wheeler,” DNR Trail Specialist Kristy Rice said Tuesday.
“I don’t know why anyone would want to be on the trail right now it’s kind of scary,” she added.
The DNR is in the process of taking over management of the corridor from the McLeod County Regional Rail Authority.
Rice said she expects this process to be completed soon.
The rails and ties from the former Dakota Rail line have been removed, but the corridor is undeveloped and unsafe, according to Rice.
“Our main concern is that there are bridges that are not safe. We have put up signs and snow fences at the bridge crossings, and the fences are already down,” Rice said.
She also said that the DNR has left the “no trespassing” signs that the rail authority put up on other parts of the trail.
Rice said there is a possibility that a three-mile stretch of the trail, from McLeod County Road 1 west to Eagle Avenue, will be open for use as a grant-in-aid snowmobile trail this winter, but no other use for the trail is permitted at this time.
Rice said the DNR is continuing to work on plans for future use of the corridor, and will be scheduling public hearings to help determine what uses will be permitted when the trail is developed.
The portion of the Dakota Rail in Carver County, which is managed by the Carver County Parks Department, is also posted to prohibit trespassing at this time.