Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 85

Section 85.015

Topics

Recent History

85.015 STATE TRAILS.
    Subdivision 1. Acquisition. (a) The commissioner of natural resources shall establish,
develop, maintain, and operate the trails designated in this section. Each trail shall have the
purposes assigned to it in this section. The commissioner of natural resources may acquire lands
by gift or purchase, in fee or easement, for the trail and facilities related to the trail.
(b) Notwithstanding the offering to public entities, public sale, and related notice and
publication requirements of sections 94.09 to 94.165, the commissioner of natural resources,
in the name of the state, may sell surplus lands not needed for trail purposes at private sale to
adjoining property owners and leaseholders. The conveyance must be by quitclaim in a form
approved by the attorney general for a consideration not less than the appraised value.
    Subd. 1a. Private subsurface use of trails. Notwithstanding section 272.68, subdivision 3,
the commissioner may issue a permit, without a fee, to allow a person who owns land adjacent to
a trail established under this section on land owned by the state in fee to continue a subsurface use
of the trail right-of-way, if:
(1) the person was carrying on the use when the state acquired the land for the trail; and
(2) the use does not interfere with the public's use of the trail.
    Subd. 1b. Easements for ingress and egress. Notwithstanding section 16A.695, when a trail
is established under this section, a private property owner who has a preexisting right of ingress
and egress over the trail right-of-way is granted, without charge, a permanent easement for ingress
and egress purposes only. The easement is limited to the preexisting crossing and reverts to the
state upon abandonment. Nothing in this subdivision is intended to diminish or alter any written
or recorded easement that existed before the state acquired the land for the trail.
    Subd. 1c.[Repealed, 1999 c 4 s 5]
    Subd. 2. Casey Jones Trail, Murray, Redwood, and Pipestone Counties. (a) The trail
shall originate in Lake Shetek State Park in Murray County and include the six-mile loop between
Currie in Murray County and Lake Shetek State Park. From there, the first half of the trail shall
trail southwesterly to Slayton in Murray County; thence westerly to the point of intersection with
the most easterly terminus of the state-owned abandoned railroad right-of-way, commonly known
as the Casey Jones unit; thence westerly along said Casey Jones unit to Pipestone in Pipestone
County; thence southwesterly to Split Rock Creek State Park in Pipestone County, and there
terminate. The second half of the trail shall commence in Lake Shetek State Park in Murray
County and trail northeasterly to Walnut Grove in Redwood County; thence northeasterly to
Redwood Falls in Redwood County to join with the Minnesota River State Trail.
(b) The trail shall be developed as a multiuse, multiseasonal, dual treadway trail. Nothing
herein shall abrogate the purpose for which the Casey Jones unit was originally established, and
the use thereof shall be concurrent.
    Subd. 3. Countryview Bicycle Trail, Ramsey and Washington Counties. (a) The trail
shall originate at Phalen Park in St. Paul and thence extend easterly through Oakdale and Lake
Elmo to a point near South Twin Lake, and thence extend to Stillwater in Washington County
and there terminate.
(b) The trail shall be developed primarily for the use of bicycles.
The commissioner may contract and enter into other agreements with state and local road
authorities and with local governments in regard to the establishment, development, maintenance,
and operation of the trail, including but not limited to speed regulation and signing of the trail.
    Subd. 4. Douglas Trail, Olmsted, Wabasha, and Goodhue Counties. (a) The trail shall
originate at Rochester in Olmsted County and shall follow the route of the Chicago Great Western
Railroad to Pine Island in Goodhue County and there terminate.
(b) Additional trails may be established that extend the Douglas Trail system to include Pine
Island, Mazeppa in Wabasha County to Zumbrota, Bellechester, Goodhue, and Red Wing in
Goodhue County. In addition to the criteria in section 86A.05, subdivision 4, these trails must
utilize abandoned railroad rights-of-way where possible.
(c) The trail shall be developed primarily for riding and hiking.
(d) Under no circumstances shall the commissioner acquire any of the right-of-way of the
Chicago Great Western Railroad until the abandonment of the line of railway described in this
subdivision has been approved by the Surface Transportation Board or the former Interstate
Commerce Commission.
    Subd. 5. Glacial Lakes Trail, Kandiyohi, Pope, Stearns, and Douglas Counties. (a) The
trail shall originate at Kandiyohi County Park on the north shore of Green Lake in Kandiyohi
County and thence extend northwesterly to Sibley State Park, thence northwesterly to Glacial
Lakes State Park in Pope County, thence northeasterly to Lake Carlos State Park in Douglas
County, and there terminate.
(b) A segment shall be established beginning in the city of Willmar, Kandiyohi County, and
extending northeasterly into Stearns County.
(c) The trail shall be developed primarily for riding and hiking.
    Subd. 6. Minnesota Valley Trail, Hennepin, Dakota, Scott, Carver, Sibley and Le Sueur
Counties. (a) The trail shall originate at Fort Snelling State Park and thence extend generally
southwesterly along the Minnesota River Valley through Hennepin, Dakota, Scott, Carver, Sibley,
and Le Sueur Counties to the city of Le Sueur, and there terminate. The trail shall include the
following state waysides: (a) Rice Lake Wayside, in Scott County; (b) Carver Rapids Wayside, in
Scott County; (c) Lawrence wayside, in Scott county; (d) Belle Plaine Wayside, in Carver, Scott,
and Sibley Counties; (e) Blakeley Wayside, in Scott County; and (f) Rush River Wayside, in
Sibley County.
(b) The trail shall be developed primarily for riding and hiking. Motorized vehicles are
prohibited from that portion of the trail on the north side of the Minnesota River, lying between
Fort Snelling State Park and Rice Lake Wayside.
(c) In establishing, developing, maintaining, and operating the trail the commissioner shall
cooperate with local units of government and private individuals and groups whenever feasible.
    Subd. 7. Blufflands Trail system, Fillmore, Olmsted, Winona, and Houston Counties. (a)
The Root River Trail shall originate at Chatfield in Fillmore County, and thence extend easterly in
the Root River Valley to the intersection of the river with Minnesota Trunk Highway No. 26 in
Houston County, and extend to the Mississippi River.
(b) Additional trails may be established that extend the Blufflands Trail system to include La
Crescent, Hokah, Caledonia, and Spring Grove in Houston County; Preston, Harmony, Fountain,
Wykoff, Spring Valley, Mabel, Canton, and Ostrander in Fillmore County; Rochester, Dover,
Eyota, Stewartville, Byron, and Chester Woods County Park in Olmsted County; and Winona,
Minnesota City, Rollingstone, Altura, Lewiston, Utica, St. Charles, and Elba in Winona County.
In addition to the criteria in section 86A.05, subdivision 4, these trails must utilize abandoned
railroad rights-of-way where possible.
(c) The trails shall be developed primarily for nonmotorized riding and hiking.
    Subd. 8. Sakatah Singing Hills Trail, Blue Earth, Le Sueur, and Rice Counties. (a) The
trail shall originate in Mankato, Blue Earth County, and shall extend in a northeasterly direction
on or along the railroad right-of-way into Rice County.
(b) The trail shall be developed primarily for riding and hiking. Motorized vehicles, except
snowmobiles, are prohibited from the trail.
    Subd. 8a. Mill Towns Trail. (a) The trail shall originate at a point commonly known as
Faribault Junction in Rice County, the termination point of the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail, and
shall extend through the towns of Faribault, Dundas, Northfield, Waterford, and Randolph, to the
termination point of the Cannon Valley Trail in Cannon Falls. The trail may be located within the
Cannon River Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Land Use District.
(b) The trail shall be developed primarily for riding and hiking. Motorized vehicles, except
snowmobiles, are prohibited from the trail.
    Subd. 9.[Repealed, 1973 c 684 s 3]
    Subd. 10. Luce Line Trail. (a) The trail shall originate at Gleason Lake in Plymouth Village,
Hennepin County, and shall follow the route of the Chicago Northwestern Railroad.
(b) The trail shall be developed for multiuse wherever feasible. The department shall
cooperate in maintaining its integrity for modes of use consistent with local ordinances.
(c) In establishing, developing, maintaining, and operating the trail, the commissioner shall
cooperate with local units of government and private individuals and groups. Before acquiring
any parcel of land for the trail, the commissioner of natural resources shall develop a management
program for the parcel and conduct a public hearing on the proposed management program in
the vicinity of the parcel to be acquired. The management program of the commissioner shall
include but not be limited to the following: (a) fencing of portions of the trail where necessary
to protect adjoining landowners; and (b) the maintenance of the trail in a litter free condition to
the extent practicable.
(d) The commissioner shall not acquire any of the right-of-way of the Chicago Northwestern
Railway Company until the abandonment of the line described in this subdivision has been
approved by the Surface Transportation Board or the former Interstate Commerce Commission.
Compensation, in addition to the value of the land, shall include improvements made by the
railroad, including but not limited to, bridges, trestles, public road crossings, or any portion
thereof, it being the desire of the railroad that such improvements be included in the conveyance.
The fair market value of the land and improvements shall be recommended by two independent
appraisers mutually agreed upon by the parties. The fair market value thus recommended shall
be reviewed by a review appraiser agreed to by the parties, and the fair market value thus
determined, and supported by appraisals, may be the purchase price. The commissioner may
exchange lands with landowners abutting the right-of-way described in this section to eliminate
diagonally shaped separate fields.
    Subd. 11. Willard Munger Trail, Ramsey, Washington, Chisago, Pine, St. Louis, and
Carlton Counties. (a) The trail shall consist of four segments. One segment shall be known
as the "Gateway segment" and shall originate at the State Capitol, then extend northerly and
northeasterly to William O'Brien State Park, and then extend northerly to Taylors Falls in Chisago
County. One segment shall originate in Chisago County and extend into Duluth in St. Louis
County. One segment shall originate at Hinckley in Pine County and extend through Moose Lake
in Carlton County to Duluth in St. Louis County. One segment shall originate in Carlton County
at Carlton and extend through Wrenshall to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.
(b) The Gateway segment shall be developed primarily for hiking and nonmotorized riding,
and the remaining segments of the trail shall be developed primarily for riding and hiking.
(c) Additional segments shall be established that extend the Willard Munger Trail to include
Proctor, Duluth, and Hermantown in St. Louis County.
    Subd. 12. Heartland Trail, Clay, Becker, Hubbard, and Cass Counties. (a) The trail shall
originate at Moorhead in Clay County and extend in an easterly direction through Detroit Lakes
in Becker County to mile post 90.92 at Park Rapids in Hubbard County; thence in an easterly
direction along the Burlington Northern Railroad right-of-way through Walker in Cass County;
thence in a northerly direction along the Burlington Northern Railroad right-of-way to Cass Lake
in Cass County, and there terminate.
(b) The trail shall be developed primarily for riding and hiking.
    Subd. 13. Arrowhead Region Trails, in Cook, Lake, St. Louis, Koochiching and Itasca
Counties. (a)(1) The Taconite Trail shall originate at Ely in St. Louis County and extend
southwesterly to Tower in St. Louis County, thence westerly to McCarthy Beach State Park in St.
Louis County, thence southwesterly to Grand Rapids in Itasca County and there terminate;
(2) The Northshore Trail shall originate in Duluth in St. Louis County and extend
northeasterly to Two Harbors in Lake County, thence northeasterly to Grand Marais in Cook
County, thence northeasterly to the international boundary in the vicinity of the north shore of
Lake Superior, and there terminate;
(3) The Grand Marais to International Falls Trail shall originate in Grand Marais in Cook
County and extend northwesterly, outside of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, to Ely in St. Louis
County, thence southwesterly along the route of the Taconite Trail to Tower in St. Louis County,
thence northwesterly through the Pelican Lake area in St. Louis County to International Falls
in Koochiching County, and there terminate.
(b) The trails shall be developed primarily for riding and hiking.
(c) In addition to the authority granted in subdivision 1, lands and interests in lands for the
Arrowhead Region trails may be acquired by eminent domain. Before acquiring any land or
interest in land by eminent domain the commissioner of administration shall obtain the approval
of the governor. The governor shall consult with the Legislative Advisory Commission before
granting approval. Recommendations of the Legislative Advisory Commission shall be advisory
only. Failure or refusal of the commission to make a recommendation shall be deemed a negative
recommendation.
    Subd. 14. Gateway Trail, Chisago, Ramsey, and Washington Counties. (a) The trail shall
originate at the State Capitol and shall extend northerly and northeasterly to William O'Brien State
Park, thence northerly to Taylors Falls in Chisago County, and there terminate.
(b) The trail shall be developed primarily for hiking and nonmotorized riding.
(c) In addition to the authority granted in subdivision 1, lands and interests in lands for
the trail may be acquired by eminent domain.
(d) The commissioner of natural resources, after consulting with all local units of government
affected by the trail, and with the commissioner of transportation and the Metropolitan Council,
shall prepare a master plan for the trail. After completion of the master plan, any land or interest
in land not needed for the trail may be disposed of by the commissioner of natural resources
as follows:
(1) by transfer to the Department of Transportation, the Historical Society, or another state
agency;
(2) by sale at not less than the purchase price to a city, town, school district, park district,
or other political subdivision whose boundaries include or are adjacent to the land, for public
purposes only, after written notice to each of these political subdivisions; or
(3) if no offer to purchase is received from any political subdivision within one year after
the completion of the master plan, then by public sale, at not less than the purchase price, upon
notice published in the manner provided in section 92.14, and otherwise in the same manner as
trust fund lands are sold, so far as applicable.
All proceeds derived from sales of unneeded land and interest in land shall be deposited in
the state bond fund. For the purposes of United States Code, title 23, section 138, and title 49,
section 1653(f), any land or interest in land not needed for the trail and transferred to another
state agency, or sold, does not constitute permanent park, recreation area, or wildlife or waterfowl
refuge facility land.
    Subd. 15. Paul Bunyan Trail, Crow Wing, Cass, Hubbard, and Beltrami Counties. The
trail shall originate in Crow Wing State Park in Crow Wing County and shall extend through the
city of Baxter and in a northerly direction along the Burlington Northern Railroad right-of-way,
intersecting the Heartland State Trail southwest of the city of Walker in Cass County. The trail
shall continue on the Heartland State Trail through the city of Walker, then in a northwesterly
direction along the Burlington Northern Railroad right-of-way to the city of Bemidji in Beltrami
County and terminate in Lake Bemidji State Park.
    Subd. 16. Superior Vista Trail; St. Louis and Lake Counties. The trail shall originate
at the city of Duluth and shall extend in a northeasterly direction along the shoreline of Lake
Superior to the city of Two Harbors. The trail shall be designed for bicycles and hikers, shall
utilize existing highway and railroad right-of-way where possible, and shall be laid out in a
manner to maximize the view of Lake Superior while traversing the length of the trail.
    Subd. 17. Shooting Star Trail, Mower County. (a) The trail shall originate in the city of
LeRoy and extend in a northwesterly direction through Lake Louise State Park and the cities of
Taopi, Adams, Rose Creek, and Lyle, to the city of Austin.
(b) Additional trails shall be established to connect with the Bluffland Trail system in
Fillmore County and the trail from Riceville, Iowa.
(c) The trail shall be developed primarily for hiking and nonmotorized riding.
    Subd. 18. Prairie Wildflower Trail, Mower, Dodge, Steele and Rice Counties. (a) The
trail shall follow an abandoned railroad line originating in the city of Austin and extending
northwesterly through Blooming Prairie and Owatonna to the city of Faribault.
(b) The trail shall be developed primarily for hiking and nonmotorized riding.
    Subd. 19. Blazing Star Trail, Freeborn and Mower Counties. (a) The trail shall originate
in the city of Albert Lea and extend to the city of Austin.
(b) The trail shall be developed primarily for hiking and nonmotorized riding.
    Subd. 20. Stagecoach Trail; Steele, Dodge, and Olmsted Counties. The trail shall originate
at the Douglas Trail near the city of Rochester in Olmsted County and extend westerly along the
Zumbro River Valley to the city of Mantorville and the village of Wasioja in Dodge County,
following as closely as possible the Historic Stagecoach Trail to Wasioja, through Rice Lake State
Park to the city of Owatonna in Steele County.
    Subd. 21. Gitchi-Gami Trail, Lake and Cook Counties. (a) The trail shall originate in the
city of Two Harbors and shall extend in a northeasterly direction along the shore of Lake Superior,
running parallel to State Highway 61 to the city of Grand Marais.
(b) The trail shall be developed primarily for hiking and bicycling.
    Subd. 22. Minnesota River Trail. The trail shall originate at the entrance to Big Stone Lake
State Park and extend along the Minnesota River Valley to connect to the Minnesota Valley
Trail at the city of Le Sueur.
    Subd. 23. Central Lakes Trail; Otter Tail, Grant, and Douglas Counties. The trail shall
originate at the city of Fergus Falls and extend in a southeasterly direction through Grant and
Douglas Counties to the eastern boundary of Douglas County.
    Subd. 24. Cuyuna Lakes Trail, Crow Wing and Aitkin Counties. (a) The trail alignments
shall originate in Crow Wing County at the Paul Bunyan Trail in the city of Baxter and shall
extend in an east-northeasterly direction to the city of Riverton, Crow Wing County, where they
shall connect to the Sagamore Mine segment of the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. The
trail alignments shall then continue in a northeasterly direction, generally along and using former
railroad rights-of-way insofar as practical, to connect with the main body of the Cuyuna Country
State Recreation Area, the communities of Ironton and Crosby in Crow Wing County, and the
Croft Mine Historical Park. The trail alignments shall then continue in an east-northeasterly
direction, generally along and using former railroad rights-of-way insofar as practical, to the city
of Cuyuna in Crow Wing County, and then continue east to the city of Aitkin, Aitkin County,
and there terminate.
(b) The trail shall be developed as a multiuse, multiseasonal, dual treadway trail.
    Subd. 25. Great River Ridge Trail, Wabasha and Olmsted Counties. (a) The trail shall
originate in the city of Plainview in Wabasha County and extend southwesterly through the city of
Elgin in Wabasha County and the town of Viola in Olmsted County to the Chester Woods Trail
in Olmsted County.
(b) The commissioner of natural resources shall enter an agreement with the Wabasha County
Regional Rail Authority to maintain and develop the Great River Ridge Trail as a state trail.
History: 1971 c 859 s 6-8; Ex1971 c 3 s 96; 1973 c 684 s 1,2; 1973 c 743 s 1; 1974 c 407
s 1,2; 1975 c 113 s 1; 1975 c 271 s 6; 1980 c 458 s 12; 1982 c 639 s 30,31; 1983 c 344 s 23;
1986 c 444; 1988 c 436 s 1; 1988 c 628 s 4; 1988 c 679 s 1,2; 1991 c 254 art 2 s 13; 1992 c 456
s 1; 1993 c 285 s 4; 1994 c 391 s 1-3; 1994 c 632 art 2 s 21; 1994 c 643 s 47; 1995 c 26 s 1;
1995 c 220 s 66,67; 1996 c 407 s 33,34; 1997 c 216 s 65,66; 1998 c 318 s 1; 1998 c 401 s 25;
1999 c 95 s 1; 1999 c 231 s 100,101; 2000 c 488 art 3 s 22; 2000 c 492 art 1 s 39; 2001 c 27 s 1;
1Sp2001 c 2 s 84,85; 2002 c 366 s 2,3; 2003 c 2 art 4 s 2,3; 2004 c 262 art 1 s 9; 1Sp2005 c 1 art
2 s 49; 2006 c 258 s 31; 2006 c 281 art 1 s 10-16
NOTE: Subdivision 25, as added by Laws 2006, chapter 258, section 31, and Laws 2006,
chapter 281, article 1, section 16, is effective the day after the governing body of the Wabasha
County Regional Rail Authority and its chief clerical officer timely complete their compliance
with Minnesota Statutes, section 645.021, subdivisions 2 and 3. Laws 2006, chapter 258, section
31, the effective date, and Laws 2006, chapter 281, article 1, section 25.