14 November, 2010


The Chisago County Parks department, in cooperation with the Parks and Trails Foundation, works to identify the trail route, contact landowners, survey property and negotiate for trial right-of-way in an effort to construct the Swedish Immigrant Trail. The primary focus in 2010 has been to connect Shafer with Taylor's Falls via the East End Segment.

Recent actions by the County include applying for grants to fund land acquisition, design and construction of the Trail, negotiation with landowners to purchase right-of-way and and coordination with State Park and City partners.

Below is a brief update of recent efforts, provided by Parks Department Director, Laird Mork. 

Right-of-Way Purchase Agreements:
The County is making progress with purchase agreements for trail right-of-way connecting Wildwood Campground and Taylor's Falls. Only one parcel has yet to enter the process. That landowner has indicated that he supports the trail concept but negotiations for a location and price remain. The County is currently working on a purchase agreement with Wildwood Campground. Recent conversation with Xcel Energy was positive, and the utility indicated they were processing the easement document for trail routing near Herberg Road. 

Interstate Park Trail Segment:
Trail routing through the north side of the park has been identified and is being coordinated by Interstate Park and the DNR. During this process, a parcel not owned by State was identified. The owner is deceased, which has complicated the acquisition process. Surveyors investigated routing around the the parcel, however this was not advisable. Chisago County and State DNR collaboration for the project is ongoing.  

Property Acquisition and Engineering Grants:
In July 2009, the County was selected to received a grant from MNDOT for $73,500 to acquire trail right-of-way and engineer the East End Segment. This grant requires a 50% local match.

As a condition of this grant (and of any project receiving Federal funds) the project area must be surveyed for cultural resources that could be impacted by the construction of the trail. A cultural resources review is currently underway by Richard Rothaus with Trefoil. This review must be completed in order to execute a contract for the grant.

Another condition required when Federal DOT funds are used is that property appraisals must meet federal standards..This process has been completed for all parcels that will be acquired with grant funds.

Because of delays in initiating the cultural review and arranging purchase agreements, there is a possibility that grant funds could be lost. The deadline for utilizing the MNDOT grant funds is June 30th, 2011.
More about the award of this grant.

Construction Grants:
At the last County Park Board meeting, a letter from the DNR was shared regarding a County application for construction funding for the SIT East End Project. The County had submitted an application to the Parks and Trails Legacy Grant Program. The DNR received 67 applications for parks and trail projects with requests totaling over 25 million and only 4.2 million to allocate. Unfortunately the SIT project was not selected for funding this year.


Lisa November 15, 2010 at 2:44 PM  

This is great news!! (Unless they let the grant go...)

We had a great time this summer biking the short part of the trail finished in Shafer and would love for the full trail to be complete. What a great resource for our communities!