Friday, November 26, 2010

Another accolade for Minnesota trails

It should come as no surprise to any of my readers that I'm proud of the trail system Minnesota provides for outdoor enthusiasts.

It seems that whatever your outdoor fancy may be, the Loon state's got you covered.

For the cycling enthusiasts like me, there's an extensive (and growing, as mentioned in a previous post) number of bike trails scattered throughout the state to explore. For hiking, there's state parks everywhere you turn, including the wonderful Minneopa Falls in Mankato. Ditto for snowmobile and ATV trails.

Minnesota's diligence with off-highway trails has not gone unnoticed. Minneapolis was named the most bike-friendly city in the nation earlier this year (also mentioned in a previous post). Likewise, Minnesota was named the fourth most 'bicycle friendly' state in the nation this year (press release can be found here).

Well, trail enthusiasts now have another award to hang their hat on.

American Trails recognized Minnesota this week as being the 'Best Trails State' in the country (Minnesota DNR story about it can be found here). According to the DNR, the award (which is rewarded every two years) recognizes states for facilitating an outstanding statewide system of trails, whether it be bicycling, hiking, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling.

As far as sheer volume of trails, here are the figures on the state's DNR website:

"Trails managed by the DNR include more than 600 miles of paved trails for biking, 1,000 miles of equestrian trails, 1,300 miles of cross-country skiing trails, 1,000 miles of off-highway vehicle trails, 4,400 miles of water trails, 1,000 miles of snowmobile trails, and several thousand miles of hiking trails."

With all that taken into consideration, in addition to the state's continued emphasis to promote outdoor activity, it comes as no surprise that Minnesota would be recognized with such an honor.

Minnesota might not have moutains or a Grand Canyon to look at, but it sure ain't dull.

Minnesota's application form for the American Trails award can be viewed here.

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