ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Gitchi-Gami Trail Association gears up for annual bike ride

Bike riders from across the Northland and beyond will gather Saturday for the 15th annual North Shore Bike Ride on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail. Bill Blank, president of Gitchi-Gami Trail Association (GGTA), said he expects from 130 to 160 riders ...

Bike riders from across the Northland and beyond will gather Saturday for the 15th annual North Shore Bike Ride on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail.

Bill Blank, president of Gitchi-Gami Trail Association (GGTA), said he expects from 130 to 160 riders to join the ride that starts and ends at Gooseberry Falls State Park, and stretches all the way to Minnesota Highway 1 in Finland.

"Gooseberry Falls is a spectacular place to start," Blank said. "There are all sorts of scenic spots to stop and the route winds through the park for about a mile before exiting."

Registration is $45 for adults and includes a T-shirt, along with a map of all three routes offered to riders and daily admission to Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse and Tettegouche state parks. Children younger than 15 can register for $5 with a paid adult and will receive a water bottle.
The GGTA is an all-volunteer nonprofit group formed to work with state and area organizations to plan, develop and maintain the Gitchi-Gami State Trail. The trail, when complete, will be an 88-mile, non-motorized trail between Two Harbors and Grand Marais. About 30 miles of trail are currently complete, with the longest leg being a 14-mile stretch between Gooseberry Falls and Beaver Bay. A 10-mile section between Schroeder and Lutsen also is complete.

The annual ride is a fundraiser for the GGTA, and money raised will go toward the completion of the trail. Banks said the association hopes to complete a section following West Road in Beaver Bay in 2016, finishing the connection between Beaver Bay and Silver Bay. The Gitchi-Gami Trail Association also is working with the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission and the Minnesota Department of Transportation Regional Transportation Advisory Committee to secure additional grants and funding for the trail.

ADVERTISEMENT

On Saturday, rest stops with snacks and refreshments will be set up at the new rest stop on state Highway 61 in Beaver Bay and at Eckbeck Campground on Highway 1 in Finland.

There are three suggested distances for the out-and-back ride, including a 28-mile option that begins at Gooseberry Falls and follows the trail from the park through Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to the new rest stop in Beaver Bay on Highway 61. The only spot the 28-mile option will cross an open highway is to reach the rest stop.

Blank said riders not wishing to go the full 28 miles can simply turn around and head back to Gooseberry Falls at any point.

The 37- and 55-mile routes that follow County Road 4 inland from Beaver Bay will be on open roads with cars and other traffic. Those riders also will travel on County Road 5, Highway 1, Highway 61 and Outer Drive in Silver Bay.

"Drivers will want to be a little more alert and drive a little slower" in those areas on Saturday, Blank said.

Blank also said there will be signs up to remind drivers to be aware of bikers on the roads.

"It's a beautiful ride and I might add, it's some good exercise," said Blank. "The terrain is rolling and if you do the 28-mile ride, you will have climbed 2,500 feet. Some people might say that's not good and some people might say that's a good workout."

For more information or to register for the race, visit ggta.org . Same-day registration is available.

Related Topics: TWO HARBORSSILVER BAY
What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.