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Parks and Trail Advisory Council: Future of Movil Maze pondered

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Parks and Trail Advisory Council: Future of Movil Maze pondered
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI -- The Beltrami County Park and Trail Advisory Council met in the parking lot of Movil Maze, discussing and dreaming up future plans for the land.

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"The PTAC can really tell us what to do here at Movil Maze," Beltrami County Recreation Resource Specialist John Winter said Thursday afternoon at the recreation area's entrance. "It is changing -- the skiers know it. It is not just skiing anymore."

The Movil Maze Recreation area is located about five miles north of Bemidji off U.S. Highway 71 and County Road 305. The area is made up of a series of ski trails, created in 1979 to house the first Minnesota Finlandia Ski Marathon. Today, the area is utilized year-round by bicyclists, runners, equestrians and riders of all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles.

Winter said that because 1,250 acres of riding trails see increased use year round, it is time to consider how the park may be used in the future with possibilities that include hosting mountain bike races, running races and other events.

Tom Daman, who has played a big role in developing the biking trails, said five miles of biking trails are on the land now and five more miles are being developed with the help of a $5,000 grant.

One issue that was discussed at the meeting was to create a set of rules for the area to better maintain the natural resources and the trails themselves. Daman said that one of the problems is that ATVs have ruined the snowmobile trails. Winters said one of the ways to address this issue is to create a set of rules, letting people know how the space is to be used.

Other plans that were discussed included improving the parking lot, adding precast concrete curbs and planting trees and shrubs to create more of a natural setting. Building a picnic shelter near the trail head was also discussed.

For Beltrami County Commissioner Jim Lucachick, the brainstorming ideas were great, but he thought it was important to first identify the park's boundaries, which remain somewhat undefined.

"How can you do anything until you have a pure definition of what our recreation areas are?" Lucachick said.

What Lucachick was referring to is a seven-acre block of land on the east side of County Road 305 that is part of Movil Maze and has been cut down.

"There is no clearly defined boundary and there was no clearly defined definition. Then it gets cut and then we talk about it," Lucachick said. "I'm sorry -- there is a fundamental error there in my mind."

He said in the 20 years he has lived in the area he has seen Movil Maze go through the same thing over and over because it is not clearly defined as a park.

Winters said the PTAC needs to identify what the Movil Maze is going to be so the land is identified as a park and maintained as such.

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