Bicyclists About to Enjoy Another Trail

Image courtesy of the News Tribune
The Wetlands Initiative is pedaling toward its newest restoration project at the Hennepin-Hopper Lakes site in rural Hennepin.

The Oak Ridge restoration project, which will be in the center of the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge section, includes habitat restoration and the expansion of public access at the site, including a 2.25-mile hiking and biking trail.

“The trail part, we expect that to be ready to use by next spring,” Paul Botts, TWI executive director said.

The restoration, however, is a more gradual project that will take 2½ years to complete, he said. Visitors who return to the site occasionally during that time will be able to see its ongoing progress, he said.

By clearing out invasive plants and vegetation, TWI hopes to restore approximately 70 acres of oak savanna and wetland and prairie habitats in the refuge. The project should attract more waterfowl as it is cleared out, according to Botts.

“It’s a prime waterfowl spot,” he said.

The cost of the multi-year project is expected to be a little over $300,000, Botts said.

TWI has been awarded two matching grants which will help cover the costs of the project — a $50,000 North American Wetlands Conservation Act Small Grant and an $83,000 grant from the Grand Victoria Foundation.

Botts said TWI was very pleased to receive the grants.

“It’s a major investment in the refuge,” he said.

Work on the project will begin this summer, he said. To kick off the restoration and path, TWI will have a family-friendly barbecue celebration the last Saturday in July at the Hennepin-Hopper Lakes site.

Source: News Tribune