Springvale Park trails to be improved, extended

The Springvale County Park, which features increasingly popular trails for bikers during both warm and cold weather, will be getting some improvements, along with extending the existing trails.

A popular county park for biking will soon become even better. Springvale Park, located just off Highway 95 west of Cambridge, has become known for having a high-quality trail system for both warm and cold weather biking. Each January, the park hosts the “Freezer Burn” Fat Tire Bike race, which raises funds for park improvements, to go along with county funding.

Phase II of the single-track bike trail through Springvale Park is set to be constructed between March and November, 2021, after the Isanti County Board approved the low bid from Trail Source of $2,850 per day at its Feb. 3 meeting.

Phase II will add 8,250 linear feet of new trail through the park, and enhance 4,700 linear feet of trail.

The trail will be seven miles once completed. “We had historically done in-house work and had two miles,” said Parks Director Barry Wendorf, noting that is some of the trail that is being enhanced in Phase II.

Last year, two-and-one-half miles of trail were built, and there is currently about four miles of trail. 

The riding trail is 18 inches wide, but wider when constructed to account for slope and drainage, Wendorf said

“There is some education that needs to be done when it comes to wet conditions,” he added. “Because it’s a new trail and new opportunity, once it rains, we need to stay off of that trail until it dries out. Luckily we’re in sand soil, so it does dry off relatively quickly, but we’ve had some instances of riding too soon and creating ruts.”

Vaccine update

County Administrator Julia Lines provided an update to the board regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. 

“I’m sure you guys are being asked, I was stopped and asked the other day,” she said, informing the board that the Minnesota Department of Health is starting to target the 65+ population, but is relying on healthcare providers.

Each week, county public health departments are asked to request vaccines. Isanti requested 600, and is getting zero, according to Lines. 

“The state is trying to do it on their own through these pilot programs, and it’s, so far, not going super smoothly,” she said. “I don’t know if any of you heard about the Blaine sports complex, where they had people waiting in lines outside, elderly people, for hours. It hasn’t been going great. We’re hoping that the state starts leaning more on local public health, because not everybody even has a provider, so that route isn’t perfect. Local public health is set up to do the on-site vaccinations, to do the drive-throughs - that’s what we’re trained for here.”

On a call with Minnesota Public Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, many county public health representatives were making similar comments, Lines noted. 

“Their goal is, obviously, to get vaccines out as soon as possible, but they are struggling,” Lines continued. “They need to trust us and rely on us to get it out there, because we’ve already shown that we can do it quickly and effectively.”

Despite the frustrations with getting more vaccines for public health, Isanti County was selected for a pilot program for vaccinating school staff, but only received 100 vaccines. Those vaccines were scheduled to be administered in a closed pod scheduled for Feb. 5 at Cambridge Middle School. 

However, Lines noted the pilot included staff at Braham, Cambridge-Isanti, Arts and Science, and the Cambridge Christian schools. “So, obviously, way more than 100 employees from those schools need to be vaccinated,” Lines said, noting the schools did a random lottery to select who would receive the vaccine. “That’s better than nothing, but we still have a long way to go.”

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