St Paul (KROC AM News) - A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled next year for a new bicycle route that will run between the Twin Cities and near the Canadian border.

Known as the North Star  Bicycle Route, it will cover 315 miles between St. Paul and Grand Portage State Park.

It is the state’s second route to be listed on the U.S. Bicycle Route System, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The U.S. Bicycle Route System is a network of numbered cross country routes. Currently there are more than 11,500 miles of U.S. Bicycle Routes in 24 states.

Minnesota’s first U.S. Bicycle Route is the Mississippi River Trail, which goes from Hastings to the Iowa border. It was designated in 2013. The MRT is also known as U.S. Bicycle Route 45.

The new North Star Bicycle Route combines existing roads and mixed-use paths and trails that travel through some of the state’s most popular locations, including two national parks, nine state parks and the Superior National Forest. The route also passes through two nationally recognized bicycle friendly communities, Duluth and Grand Marais.

“With nearly half the route on trails, there are many opportunities for families and less-experienced bicyclists to travel and enjoy the route,” said Liz Walton, project manager. “Also, on a bicycle, there are opportunities to experience the many cities with small-town charm that people miss when traveling on the interstate highway. The route will contribute to more vibrant and healthy communities for those who that take full advantage of bicycling for travel and fun. Bicyclists, businesses and others stand to benefit.”

She said MnDOT is committed to a long-term partnership with the communities and road and trail authorities along the route. “MnDOT will be a strong partner to support and expand the off-road bicycle network,” she said.

A ribbon-cutting is planned May 20, 2017 at the junction of U.S. Bicycle Routes 41 and 45 in St. Paul, which will kick off a six-day bicycle ride to Grand Portage State Park.
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