- Associated Press - Thursday, August 13, 2015

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - The 39-mile Sakatah Singing Hills Trail stretching from Mankato to Faribault has been a magnet for bikers and walkers for decades, but a large portion of the trail near Mankato has become a biker’s bane in recent years.

“When people ask where to ride, we don’t even send them that way,” said Brady Larson, who works at Nicollet Bike Shop in Old Town. “I don’t ride it because it’s terrible. A lot of people have given up on it. You might as well ride your mountain bike on it.”

However, the state Department of Natural Resources is coming to the rescue, with plans to spend more than $2 million to fix two segments of the trail, which has been deteriorating for the past decade.

“Sakatah is 39 miles, so when (reconstruction) comes due it seems like it’s taking forever, but there’s only so many that can be funded. We’ve spent $4 million on Sakatah, but the part that hasn’t been done sticks out like a sore thumb,” said Craig Beckman, the agency’s parks and trails area supervisor in New Ulm.

Bids are being sought for work on the trail from County Road 12 to Madison Lake, Beckman said. He hopes the repairs will be complete by the fall.

The section of trail from Madison Lake to Waterville is expected to be replaced next summer, Beckman told The Free Press of Mankato (http://bit.ly/1WlXHV2 ).

Both sections slated for repairs along the trail will be widened during reconstruction.

Work will be paid for primarily with state bonding and Legacy Act funding.

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Information from: The Free Press, http://www.mankatofreepress.com

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