STS contributes to Cannon Valley Trail cleanupAs area residents await the day that the Cannon Valley Trail is again open from end to end, many people are working hard to make that day come as soon as possible.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
As area residents await the day that the Cannon Valley Trail is again open from end to end, many people are working hard to make that day come as soon as possible.
“Things are moving along, but boy this is a lot of work,” trail manager Scott Roepke said.
Storm and flood damage back in June left the trail in need of a lot of attention over the past month. While a portion of the trail from Cannon Falls to Welch has already been taken care of, the remaining stretch that leads to Red Wing is still closed off.
With many of the major issues, such as asphalt repairs, coming to an end, it looks like opening day is finally on the horizon. Anyone interested in using the trail should continually check www.cannonvalleytrail.com to find out when everything is clear.
“As soon as it’s open we’ll post it on there,” Roepke said.
Just as Mother Nature caused the necessary cleanup on the trail, she’s exactly what is stalling progress as well. The extremely hot July weather has created dangerous working conditions, so Roepke has been sending crews home early on days when temperatures get too high.
“This heat — when you’re in it for three to four weeks it just takes a lot of energy out of your body,” he said.
Among those braving the heat for the sake of the trail is one of Goodhue County’s Sentence to Service crews. Made up of about 10 people, the group has contributed heavily to getting the Cannon Valley Trail back to its original condition from earlier this summer.
“They all seem to work really hard,” Roepke said. “The first day I was so thankful to have them because without their crew we wouldn’t have made a path from Cannon Falls down to Welch.”
When the trail first suggered damaged, STS crew leader John Lance said the STS crews worked four to five days straight. Because they’re helping other parts of Goodhue County recover from storm damage, the crew members now work on the trail about twice a week.
“They like giving back to the community,” Lance said.
The crew has given back to the trail in numerous ways as work has included just about everything: scraping silt off the asphalt, replacing gravel shoulders, digging debris out of culverts and fixing bridges, among other tasks.
“It seems like STS — they just don’t get the glorious jobs. They always get the bottom of the barrel. But the crew leaders always have a good attitude and it seems to carry on to their crew members,” Roepke said.
Lance has been able to keep his positive attitude because he knows Sentence to Service helps everyone involved.
“It’s a good program. It gives back. It helps out the community,” he said. “It helps the offenders learn new trades or skills. It shows them what a real job would be like.”
Roepke said STS is easy to use and he appreciates collaborating with such an organized group of people who operate under one leader.
“All I’ve got to do is explain it to one person and say this is what I want done and they go out and do it,” he said. “It’s just like, let’s get it done.”
That kind of work ethic is what will have the Cannon Valley Trail welcoming hikers, bikers and skaters back in no time.
Aside from checking the website, people can also call 507-263-0508 to find out when the trail opens up.