SPONSORED POST – Dakota Rail Regional Trail enthusiasts will have some new territory to explore Saturday, Sept. 12, when a 1.3-mile segment west of the Carver/McLeod County line opens to allow users to enter Lester Prairie.
Previously, the trail ended just over the county line, so travelers wishing to venture further west had to share County Road 23 with road traffic.
In the summer of 2014, the DNR closed a trail gap by upgrading and completing a bridge east of Lester Prairie.
In the spring of 2015, the DNR, working with the McLeod County Rail Authority, leased a 2-mile segment of the trail to the City of Lester Prairie. At that time, the Lester Prairie Trail Committee pursued obtaining estimates for constructing a path in the rail corridor. Fundraising efforts were supported very well, and in a matter of weeks, donations had exceeded the initial goal.
The initial plan was to connect with County Road 9 at the eastern edge of Lester Prairie, but funds allowed construction to continue west into the city to connect with the Pine Street intersection.
From the Carver County line to Lester Prairie, the trail is a packed class 5 gravel surface.
Opening the corridor will allow trail users expanded adventure opportunities. In the city of Lester Prairie, there are several beautiful city parks, one with a community swimming pool. A number of local businesses are available for food, refreshments, and supplies. The Crow River is a short distance south of the trail, and beautiful Sunrise Nature Park – with trails – is a short distance north, both on County Road 9. Perhaps the most attractive aspect for bicyclists is the direct connection north to the Luce Line State Trail via County Road 1 on the west edge of Lester Prairie.