Prospector ATV project picks up $1 million

The Prospector ATV Club will be able to move forward with phase two of trail construction following action by the state legislature in special session.
The bill, signed by the governor, will allow the club to access $955,000 in ATV dedicated account monies for five projects including a bridge over the Beaver River.
The Beaver River bridge will provide a permanent connection from Babbitt to the Taconite Trail. The project is expected to cost $1.3 million.
In addition, there are four other projects where planning and environmental review can begin.
“We’re just completing Phase One with miles of new trail being built between Babbitt and Tower,” said Prospector trail administrator Ron Potter. “This is the next step for us. The Beaver River crossing is an important connection between the Taconite Trail and Prospector.”
The club is looking to leverage the $955,000 to fund the Beaver River bridge along with environmental review of four connecting projects.
“We’re going to be looking at all funding sources for these projects, from the IRRRB to LCCMR to federal funds and so on,” said Prospector president Nick Wognum.
The “Connect Four” projects include a route between Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes, connecting the Taconite Trail to Wolf Lake Road and Mud Creek Road, connecting the Cloquet Line to the Echo Trail with a bridge over the Range River, and connecting Tower to Pfeiffer Lake Campground where trails from Crane Lake and Virginia will also meet up.
“Each of these projects are major connections for ATV riders and they provide multiple benefits to residents, visitors and business owners,” said Wognum. “We want to thank Rep. Ecklund, Sen. Bakk and Sen. Tomassoni for all of their help in making this a reality.”
The city of Ely applied for the grant and will be the fiscal agent.
“Our thanks to the city of Ely for their help this far and going forward,” said Wognum. “Lake County has been a great help as well and we need to thank them for getting us this far.”
The $955,000 was appropriated in the state Environment and Natural Resources Omnibus bill which also includes $250,000 for a statewide ATV trails master plan and route inventory.
Also receiving funding was the Voyageur Country ATV for trail connections in the areas of Cook, Orr, Ash River, Kabetogama Township and International Falls.