State dollars will help maintain cross-country ski and snowmobile trails in Anoka County this winter.
The Anoka County Board Nov. 12 approved fiscal year 2020 grant-in-aid agreements with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to receive funding for both cross-country ski and snowmobile trails.
The county will get $15,438 from the state to help groom and maintain 30 miles of cross-country ski trails in Bunker Hills, Coon Rapids Dam and Rum River Central regional parks as well as Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve.
For the snowmobile trail state grants, the county will act as the fiscal agent and pass through the money to three snowmobile clubs, which will maintain the trails in the county — $24,417.03 to Rice Creek Snowmobile Club, $20,540.23 to Kiwi Snowmobile Club and $23,974.94 to Rum River Snowmobile Club.
According to Jeff Perry, county parks director, the county has taken part in the DNR grant-in-aid program to maintain and operate cross-country ski trails for 32 years.
The state funds cover about 30% of the county’s cost; the rest comes from the Parks Department operating budget, Perry said.
The county uses a large groomer and a number of rollers, packers and tow-backed track settlers for trail operations, he said.
“Generally, we like to see 6 to 8 inches of snow pack base before trail grooming takes place,” Perry said.
The county does not maintain or operate any of the snowmobile trails other than to ensure that the three clubs that receive the state money maintain them in a safe operating condition, according to Perry.
No county dollars are used for snowmobile trails maintenance, Perry said.
“This program has been in effect for the past 32 years and has worked well,” he said.
The Rice Creek trail passes through a portion of Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve from the Washington County line west, while the Kiwi trail goes through part of Coon Lake County Park and Martin Island-Linwood Lakes Regional Park in the northeast part of the county, but most of the trails are outside the county parks system, Perry said. The third trail, Rum River, serves the northwest part of the county.