Cannon Valley Trail repairs progressingCANNON FALLS – The Cannon Valley Trail was hit hard by this month’s storms, but repairs are coming along well.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
CANNON FALLS – The Cannon Valley Trail was hit hard by this month’s storms, but repairs are coming along well.
The entire trail was shut down after the area was soaked mid-June. But now it has reopened from Cannon Falls to Welch, though there is a short detour in downtown Cannon Falls at the beginning of the trail.
The Red Wing end of the trial remains closed for repairs, but trail manager Scott Roepke said he hopes to open that to the public in roughly two weeks.
And a $5,000 donation to the repair and cleanup efforts has certainly contributed to meeting that timeline.
“That money will be spent very quickly but it’s a huge help,” Roepke said.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation heard about the damage to the trail after the storms, where wind and rain dislodged a bridge and caused landslides along the trail, Julie Eastling from the foundation said. They decided they could help with repairs.
“It just seemed like a real natural alignment to our interest in health and our work with disaster relief,” foundation president Colleen Connors said.
The BCBS foundation largely focuses its funding on larger community efforts to improve health, but also sets aside a small portion of funds for emergency response.
The Cannon Valley Trail fit in that category, Connors said. The foundation also donated $10,000 for flood relief in Duluth.
“This is really some of the worst flooding we’ve had in the state for decades,” Connors said.
The Cannon Valley Trail crew is waiting to find out if the area will be included in a possible federal disaster declaration, which could bring more funds for cleanup and repairs.
“We’re still trying to work on the damage on our own to keep expenses down,” Roepke said of Cannon Valley Trail staff.
To work on the trail they are renting machinery and have to buy materials such as crushed rock, he said. They also eventually will have to hire a contractor to do asphalt work on the damage trail.
It takes a lot of time and organization to keep the repairs moving along quickly, Roepke said.
“When you’re doing this cleanup you have no time to search for funds,” he said. “So it is just a huge blessing to have that (donation) come in.”
While people might want to lend a hand to the efforts, Roepke said most of the work being done requires machinery or specialized equipment, something volunteers likely wouldn’t be able to use.
“The best thing people can do is just be patient,” he said.