Little Falls is getting closer to developing one of its largest tourism booms with the Camp Ripley Veterans State Trail, supporters say, because the trail has the possibility of generating millions of additional dollars into the local economy.
In 2008, the Camp Ripley Veterans State Trail Committee was formed to address connecting the Paul Bunyan Trail to the Soo Line Trail, which is a missing 32-mile link that would potentially go through Little Falls. This link is now known as The Camp Ripley Veterans State Trail (CRVST). It is the first “State Trail” by law, that will be “multi-modal by design” meaning it will accommodate motorized and non-motorized trail users. When completed, the trail will have connected numerous other trails to create the longest continuous paved trail in the world and will offer over 400 miles of continuous trail.
The trail would not only impact Central Minnesota, but create the link that would connect many Minnesota communities to each other.
In Minnesota each year, nearly 1.5 million cyclists, inline skaters, joggers and walkers use the state trails. The CRVST Committee says this $3.2 billion a year industry could benefit Little Falls greatly as the hub city of this network, helping existing tourist attractions and businesses by bringing people into downtown and attracting other businesses to locate here.
The long term goal for the CRVST Committee is to make the trail usable year round by encircling Camp Ripley and linking many equestrian, ATV and snowmobile trails together.
To get the word out about the CRVST, and seek support from people in central Minnesota, the CRVST committee has developed the “Red Letter Campaign.” A drafted letter of support for the CRVST has been printed on red paper and is now being distributed throughout Little Falls and central Minnesota for people to sign. The idea is to generate thousands of “Red Letters” to send to the Governor, Legislators, County Commissioners and City Councils in hope that they will take the development of the trail seriously and help complete it. The development of the CRVST will have a major economic impact to the central Minnesota area, but it will take community support to complete it.
People can look for the “Red Letter” at area businesses throughout October, visit www.crvtrail.org or look for the Camp Ripley Veterans State Trail on Facebook.