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Editorial: Your chance to 'break trail' in Cloquet

It's no secret the city of Cloquet "trails" a bit behind other cities when it comes to providing abundant, easily accessible trails for resident and visiting walkers, cyclists and horseback riders, among others.

Oh, there are a few trails - the loop at Pine Valley, some for snowmobilers and even a new multi-use one in the works - the St. Louis River Trail which will connect the Willard Munger State Trail in Carlton to Cloquet.

But city officials hope those separate trails will become just a few of the eventual pieces in a comprehensive trail puzzle (or plan) to be developed this summer.

Before the professionals can get to the planning, however, they need your input.

To kick off the process, the Cloquet Parks Commission hosted an open house Monday evening and invited the public to bring their ideas to representatives of Minneapolis firm Hoisington Koegler Group (HKG), who will be crafting the plan.

The goal is to add trails to make Cloquet a more desirable place to live, recreate and do business, according to Caleb Peterson, the city project manager.

And a planned trail system can do just that - attracting residents, tourists and promoting healthy living. Trails also provide safe routes for people to travel to and from work without using a vehicle, which of course is better for the environment, according to the HKG presentation.

With many opinions as to where trails should be located, who they should serve and what destinations new trails should connect to, a plan that best represents the wants and needs of Cloquet will be crafted.

None of this assures trails will be built, however. That's a different process.

But as was pointed out at the meeting Monday, a city can't apply for grant funding without having a plan.

So have your say by Monday, May 11, by filling out a questionnaire and help Cloquet down the path (or trail) to creating an even better place to live.

The questionnaire is available as a link to this story or at Cloquet City Hall.