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Crossing paths: New trails pay tribute to mining history

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CHISHOLM, MN -- Mining is a huge part of the Iron Range's history, and each community honors that in its own way.

In Chisholm, a new outdoor recreation area merges the past with the present to offer people an experience unlike any other.

Welcome to the Redhead Mountain Bike Park.

"Right now, we're within five different mining pits that have merged together that are no longer active," said Donna Johnson, Executive Director at the Minnesota Discovery Center (MDC). "It's people's first chance to get into an old active mine to see what the landscape looks like after the mine was no longer active."

The trails are accessible from MDC in Chisholm and the new recreation area has been beneficial to the museum.

"It's a really unique way where we can bring the museum out into the landscape and the landscape into the museum. People can come to explore the landscape but then come into the museum and learn what really created that landscape and the history behind it. It’s a very unique interaction between landscape and history," said Johnson.

Whether hiking, snowshoeing, or biking, the trails offer something for everyone.

“This reclaimed mine terrain is incredible,” said Trevor Smith while fat tire biking on the trail.
He recently moved to the Iron Range.

“It’s beautiful here. You’re biking and you’re looking across here and you can see all the red rock and the lake and it’s wonderful.”

While the Redhead Trail attracts outdoor enthusiasts from all over, it has also benefitted the local business community.

“It looks really bright for the City of Chisholm," said Stephanie Skraba, Economic Development Coordinator for the city. "There’s a ton of buzz about it, people are really excited about what could happen, what could grow. Developing the downtown, a little bit more, having new visitors come and visit the city and being able to showcase what we have.”

Skraba added, this is just the beginning and there's much more to come.

“We’re actually right now in a comp planning process and we’re looking at the community more as a tourism destination with amenities such as the Redhead and other trails that we have in our community so it’s really kind of focusing on where we’re looking at going in the economy.”

As you gear up to hit the trails and enjoy the views, locals hope you'll remember how this came to be as they pay homage to the many immigrant miners who built what we're able to enjoy today.

Unfortunately, because of the recent warm weather we've experienced, the Redhead trails are closed at the moment. Make sure to visit the Discovery Center's website and social media pages to find out when you can head out and explore some Iron Range history.

Kristen Vake

Anchor, Reporter

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