Bridge a bonus for new ATV trail section

With over $3 million in construction for ATV trails in the Ely, Babbitt, Tower and Embarrass area, there will be new sights to be seen. This past weekend one of those sights was an old one.
For snowmobilers the pictures of the bridge over the Kawishiwi River in this week’s Echo are familiar, albeit without the snow and ice.
For ATVers, this was a new experience as the bridge previously wasn’t part of a summer trail system. Seven months out of the year the bridge sat unused. That has now changed.
The Prospector Loop ATV Trail system opened the section from South Farm to Spruce Road and beyond, including the Kawishiwi River bridge.
Days after it opened, the bridge was the scene for a photo of the 100+ people who were part of a benefit ride for Special Olympics Minnesota.
They parked their ATVs in a soon to be popular picnic site and posed for a group photo. We have a feeling this won’t be the last photo we’ll see of that bridge in the spring, summer and fall.
Building ATV trails bring a set of challenges that can be daunting and at times insurmountable. But the volunteers from the four communities have worked together for over five years to make dreams turn into realities.
They still have miles to go, including the connection from Ely proper to Pine Road that will have to wait until next spring for construction to be completed.
The group is also working cooperatively with the Minnesota DNR and the Town of Morse to open up the Taconite Trail to make connections to Tower, Babbitt and Embarrass.
With $3 million to spend and a tight timeline before parts of the funding expire, expect to see more sections of ATV trail open in the area at a much faster pace.
Then, a year from now, the Prospector Club will host the annual convention for ATV Minnesota, bringing hundreds of riders to enjoy the area and spend money here.
Plenty of work yet to do. Being able to open a section of trail that contains a picturesque bridge over a river was a big bonus.
Our hope is the bonuses continue and the area gains more trails that will increase the quality of life for those who live here with the added bonus of increased tourism.