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Officials close portions of Heartland State Trail

Sections of the Heartland State Trail North will be closed temporarily while old railroad trestles at Kabekona Bay and Swamp Creek and various sections of the paved trail are rehabilitated, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials. There is no efficient and safe alternate route around this construction area.

The trail will essentially be closed between Walker and the trail crossing at Highway 371 through Nov. 1, and between the Highway 371 crossing to Cass Lake from mid-September to mid-October, said Dave Schotzko, area supervisor for the DNR's Division of Parks and Trails.

The section of trail in Akeley is also closed for the replacement of the bridge over the Crow Wing River until Dec. 1. All of these trail improvements are being funded through Minnesota's Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

"We apologize for the inconvenience to trail users," Schotzko said. "There are no short, safe bike-friendly ways around these projects, so we were unable to designate a detour route. Hikers, bikers and inline skaters are encouraged to explore those portions of the trail that will not be closed."

Signs will indicate the trail closure on both sides of the Kabekona and Swamp Creek trestles as construction occurs. Once the Swamp Creek trestle rehabilitation is completed, the paving rehabilitation will occur in various segments between Walker and Cass Lake. The DNR advises trail visitors not to use Highway 371 as a detour, due to the high traffic volumes and construction activity associated with the projects.

The Swamp Creek trestle rehabilitation should be completed by Oct. 1. The trail rehabilitation should be completed by mid-October. The Kabekona trestle rehabilitation should be completed by Nov. 1. Certain structural components will be replaced on the Kabekona trestle, while new decking and handrails will be installed on both trestles. When the trail paving rehabilitation is completed, paving will extend across both trestles.