Superstar Bike Rail-Trail Is a Vital Link Between Cities

| 4/29/2013 12:00:00 PM

This article was reposted with permission from Rails-to-Trails.

The Shooting Star State Trail in southern Minnesota could be coined the “Superstar Rail-Trail” for the beneficial impact it has had on the small communities along its riding on bike trail

“We're a combined effort of four small towns: Le Roy, Adams, Rose Creek, and Taopi,” says Becky Hartwig, president of Prairie Visions, a community group that supports the rail-trail. “These towns are all under 1,000 people. We started in 1992 looking for ways to get economic development in our towns and came up with a bike trail as the most possible and probable idea.”

This summer, the trail added five miles on its western end, an extension that made “the people in Adams and Rose Creek extremely happy,” says Joel Wagar, an area parks and trails supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which manages the rail-trail. There is now strong interest in developing a connection to Iowa's Wapsi Trail to join the two states.

At 19 miles long, the paved trail offers a beautiful array of countryside views as it follows the Upper Iowa River, enters Lake Louise State Park, and continues through open prairie, wetlands and small patches of woodland. For much of the way, the trail parallels Minnesota State Highway 56, a scenic byway lined with wildflowers, including the attractive pink and purple blossoms for which the trail is named.

“It's a great benefit that allows people to get to our state park system without a car,” Wagar says. “And, because it's on a historical railroad, you get a little bit of the flavor of the railroad towns.”

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