Officials break ground on Brown’s Creek trail

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Stillwater Councilman Mike Polehna, left, DNR Parks and Trails Director Courtland Nelson, state Rep. JoAnn Ward, Washington County Commissioner Gary Kriesel, Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki, John Oldendorf, president of the Gateway Browns Creek Trail Association, and Bob Hagstrom, a trail association member and Grant resident, participated in a Sept. 26 groundbreaking ceremony for the Browns Creek State Trail in Stillwater. (Submitted photo)

Representatives from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and local governments, along with local residents. celebrated groundbreaking for the Brown’s Creek State Trail Sept. 26, at Brown’s Creek Park in Stillwater.

Representatives from the cities of Stillwater and Grant, Stillwater Township, Washington County and the Gateway Browns Creek Trail Association participated in the event.

In 2007, the Minnesota Legislature authorized the Brown’s Creek State Trail as part of the Willard Munger Trail System in east-central Minnesota. The county was instrumental in helping purchase the trail bed with $1 million from the county’s voter-approved Land and Water Legacy program.

The trail will connect the Gateway State Trail in Grant to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway in Stillwater via a 5.9-mile trail. Since the trail will be constructed on the former Minnesota Zephyr railroad grade, it will be generally level and accessible to users of all abilities. Like the Gateway State Trail, it will be developed primarily for hiking and non-motorized riding.

Once complete, trail users have the opportunity to travel to and from St. Paul, Stillwater and northern Washington County via the Gateway and Brown’s Creek state trails.

The next phase of trail development is paving the trail and construction of a new bridge over Brown’s Creek at the Oak Glen Golf Course. Rehabilitation of an existing bridge over state Minnesota 95 is underway. A bridge will also be built over Manning Avenue.

The public is asked to remain off the trail corridor during all phases of trail development to ensure safety. The DNR will not be maintaining the trail for use during construction.