Students Walk and Bike on Safe Routes to School Trails

By KBJR News 1

September 4, 2012 Updated Sep 4, 2012 at 5:15 PM CST

Two Harbors, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Students in Two Harbors now have the option to walk or bike to school on new non-motorized trail systems.

At a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday, community leaders and members celebrated the "Safe Routes to School Tails Project."

The project is expected to change the habits of an entire generation.

Two Harbors has now completed nearly six miles of a planned 11 mile walking and biking trail system.

"This is a perfect opportunity to move forward into the future, with good health, safe kids and trails that connect," Representative Mary Murphy of District 6B said.

When Two Harbors High School was built in 2004, the idea to create a trail system that would connect the high school to nearby neighborhoods took shape.

Funding for the project came, primarily, from a federal program begun initially by former DFL Congressman Jim Oberstar.

"It started with the students, it started with the parents, it's community based," Oberstar said.

The trail system is part of a larger strategy to encourage everyone to get outside and exercise.

Tri-sport athlete, Drew Christensen, says he uses the trails about eight hours each week.

"It has hills, it has straight-aways," he said. "A lot of runners use it, so I use it a lot for practices. I can't wait to use it again."

Now that the trails are connected, school officials are working with students to come up with ways to promote use of the trails.

"I would love to see a 5K run, or something put on by the students as a fundraiser, to get students to realize what is here," Brett Archer, Two Harbors Principal said.

Safe Routes to School Trails are now every state in the Nation.

But Oberstar says the Two Harbors trail system is one of kind.

"I challenge the community to submit the design, the usage, the layout, the beauty of this trail going through the forested country side, submit that to the Safe Routes Partnership," he said. "I think you'll be a candidate for an award."

A resolution to name a portion of the trail system the Honorable James Oberstar Bike and Walking Trail will be presented at Monday's City Council meeting.

Jennifer Walch
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