Plans to extend Heartland Trail

Rolling hills, farms, lakes and ‘no cars’ signs are all some of the benefits of the 49 mile mostly-paved trail of Heartland that are soon going west.

The current Heartland State Trail is from Park Rapids to Cass Lake. Under the new plan it will head west to Moorhead. The project is in the planning phase.

Even though it is still in the planning phase, the future part extending west may take a bow-like shape going through the Smoky Hills, Detroit Lakes, Frazee, Audubon, Lake Park, and Hawley to Moorhead. Planners want the trail to be off-road to provide a more scenic natural view of the areas along the path.

Park Rapids DNR member John Stewart says that many of the towns are excited for the trail to extend through their town and to bring more visitors. Currently, the part of the path connecting Detroit Lakes and Frazee is being planned.

The Heartland Trail has many parks, bed and breakfasts, museums like the one of the Paul Bunyan in Akeley, rest stops, bike rental stores and other businesses close by. The 27 mile path between Park Rapids and Walker is paved. The current trail was made in 1974, and crosses paths with the Paul Bunyan Trail (this trail is also being extended).

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