Monticello City Council approves mountain bike trail agreement

City leaders have approved an operations agreement with a non-profit organization to create mountain bike trails within the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park.
Monticello council members unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding between the city, Wright County and Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC) Monday night. MORC is dedicated to safeguarding the future of mountain biking through the promotion of responsible riding, establishment and trail maintenance.
Community Development Director Angela Schumann stated in a background memo the agreement provides the structure and terms by which MORC’s volunteers will assist the city and county in developing, constructing, and maintaining the new mountain bike trails at the Bertram Chain of Lakes.
The development of a mountain bike trail system is included as a planned land use in the approved concept plan for the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park.
That plan was based on public feedback provided during events and open houses. “This proposal provides for greater public involvement and will be accomplished with volunteer assistance, reducing the impact on staff and resources,” she said. The trails will be phased and built as land is acquired. The trail agreement includes the following terms:
All trail improvements constructed on Wright County and city of Monticello lands will remain the property of Wright County and the city. MORC will provide technical support to Wright County and the city of Monticello in determining the location and design of technical features for the mountain bike trail.
The alignments and phasing will be determined based feedback received during this Thursday night’s public meeting with MORC volunteers, Friends of the Bertram Chain of Lakes and the public that’s scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at at Monticello City Hall, 505 Walnut St.
Participants are encouraged to drop in anytime during the open house to provide input to the planning team and learn about the project.  here will be a short presentation at 6 p.m. regarding the project’s history and past planning efforts as well as information about the Bertram Chain of Lakes Friends Group, the grassroots organization that’s promoting the park effort.
According to Schumann, environmental background information prepared by the Bertram Chain of Lakes Technical Advisory Committee will be critical to selecting trails that minimize erosion and other negative impacts to the landscapes.
It will also include potential use (and upgrade) of existing, suitable trail segments within the park. MORC will provide input regarding trail alignments which meet quality and ability standards for riders. Wright County and the city will  maintain the right to approve all final trail designs and alignments.
MORC volunteers will maintain the single track trail. The agreement specifies procedures for this process. It is MORC’s responsibility to ensure that all volunteers have received proper training in trail inspection and maintenance responsibilities.
MORC will provide and supervise volunteers for the purpose of winter trail grooming, maintenance, and inspection. This creates a year-round asset for the park and another opportunity to increase usage.
According to Schumann, as part of on-going trail maintenance, MORC will submit a schedule identifying minimum a timetable for trail observation or inspection. This includes providing the county and the city with recommendations on closing and re-opening trails as conditions warrant. All construction and maintenance completed by MORC will be coordinated with the Park Maintenance Supervisor. The MOU will be renewable annually.
MORC will receives acknowledgement on a trailhead kiosk and be allowed to have an information booth at the trailhead twice each year. Ultimately, the largest benefit to MORC is the development of the trails themselves.
The Bertram Chain of Lakes Advisory Council unanimously recommended the approval of the MOU with MORC during its March 1 meeting. Schumann told the council the Wright County Attorney has also reviewed the trail agreement and supports its adoption.

Contact Managing Editor Tim Hennagir at tim.hennagir@ecm-inc.com

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