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Here's what I have found out from the wctribue's HSOforum.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Major work completed, area’s first OHV park near opening

By Tom Cherveny, Staff Writer

APPLETON -- This region’s first public park for off-highway vehicles is expected to open for its first trail riders in just a matter of weeks.

Most of the major work needed to develop the Appleton Recreational Area on the outskirts of Appleton is completed, according to Gary Hendrickx, a Swift County commissioner who advocated for it.

Located in the Swift County park formerly known as the Appleton Lake Park, the off-highway vehicle park includes miles of trail specially designed for all terrain vehicles and dirt bikes.

“We want to work out some kinks before we open it up,’’ said Hendrickx.

The major work, such as developing trails and erecting guard rail fencing, is completed. Work that remains includes the need to add signs along the routes and to place a flatbed trailer over a channel to serve as a bridge.

The length of the trails has not been clocked on an odometer yet, but it was hoped that the 102-acre park could hold nearly five miles of trails. The system includes 5,000 feet of motocross trail.

Along with the trails, the park features a parking and picnic area.

Guard rail fencing lines the perimeter of the park to prevent riders trespassing on to neighboring, private lands. The fencing is also installed to keep vehicles out of the small lake in the park.

Hendrickx said more guard rail fencing was needed than initially expected, but that otherwise most of the work progressed as planned. He noted that the emphasis was placed on making the trails challenging to ride, but safe.

State and federal grant funds of nearly $160,000 were provided for the park. Swift County is working with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to develop it.

The site is a former railroad gravel mine that was developed into a county park in 1967. Years of high water damaged the original beach and picnic shelters and area, and killed hundreds of trees in the park. Due to safety concerns, the park has been closed since 1995.

Hendrickx said he has heard from many off highway vehicle owners in the area who are interested in the park and eager to see it opened. Many of the riders have also offered to provide volunteer help if needed at the park, he noted.

He said the park’s opening this autumn will give area riders a chance to try the park out. He’s hoping the county and DNR can host a more formal opening for the area next year in the spring or early summer.

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