Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Local wildlife refuge begins trail clean up after prolonged flooding


Long Meadow Lake Trail after flood by Becky Picha/USFWS.

After nearly three months of flooding along the banks of the Minnesota River, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is turning its focus to recovery and clean up efforts.

The refuge, whose boundary stretches 70 miles of the Lower Minnesota River and encompasses extensive hiking and cycling trails, asks visitors to mind trail closures until clean-up efforts are complete.

"In general, all trails in the river bottoms are either still partially flooded or are covered with silt and damaged to the point that even travel by foot is difficult," said Chris Kane, maintenance supervisor. "There are multiple sections of pavement that have broken away; making biking very dangerous. It is passable by foot, but not recommended due to downed trees, heavy silt loads and the pavement washouts."

Maintenance crews are continuing to assess trail damage as waters recede and trails dry. Trails may remain closed for public safety or for resource protection. Some activities on muddy trails, such as mountain biking, severely damage the trail tread surface and are prohibited until conditions improve.

"Visitors are advised to exercise caution when enjoying the refuge this time of year as heavy equipment may be working in these areas," said Park Ranger Hanna McBrearty. "We thank the community for their patience and understanding as we work to make trails accessible again."

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws/gov.

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