Photo by Robert Williams
Capital Investment Committee Members and other state senators from the region were in Frazee Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023, to discuss a bonding request for the North River Loop project and Wannigan Regional Park. Pictured above are: Polly Andersen, Don Lorsung, Stephanie Poegel, Jim Rader, City Engineer Chris Thorson, Sen. Jordan Rasmusson, Mike Sharp, Karen Pifher, Sen. Paul Utke, Sen. Karin Housley, Sen. Sandy Pappas, Sen. Susan Pha, Thaddeus Helmers, Sen. Zaynab Mohamed, Sen. Scott Dibble, Terry Karger, Kimberly Antonsen and Roxann Daggett.

If PartnerSHIP 4 Health has learned one thing in trail development process, it is a good plan is always key to implementation.

In 2023, PartnerSHIP 4 Health funded a planning process for a trail connection between the community of Frazee and their new Wannigan Regional Park.

Wannigan Regional Park will be a nature-based amenity creating unique outdoor recreational experiences and connecting the natural beauty of the park with three recreational trails of statewide/regional significance:

• The Otter Tail River State Water Trail – an existing 157-mile route for canoes/kayaks

• The Heartland State Trail & Extension—a hard surface, multi-use 134-mile trail

• The North Country National Scenic Trail—a 4800-mile hiking trail across eight states

The city hired Ulteig Engineers in 2023 to work with an advisory committee to create a plan to connect Wannigan Regional Park by trail to an existing Safe Routes to School pathway while engaging the community in the process.

PartnerSHIP 4 Health then encouraged the City of Frazee to apply for Transportation Alternatives Program funding from MnDOT to build the trail, based on the newly-created plan.

In March of 2024, MnDOT informed the City of Frazee that the ATP subcommittee was recommending the City of Frazee’s application to build a Trail from County Highway 29 to Wannigan Regional Park for funding from ATP-4’s 2027 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) solicitation. 

The total construction costs are estimated at about $338,000, and the grant award is $224,000, with the City covering the remaining cost of about $114,000.

“We love our trails in Frazee. We want people to arrive at Wannigan Regional Park by bicycle or foot. Friends and families can come to our multimodal park and bike together. Within the park, we host about a mile of wide gravel roads for bicycling and walking, be prepared for the

breathtaking views at the top of our gentle hills or from the covered bridge,” said Ashley Renollet, Frazee Community Development, Board Secretary and Manager at United Community Bank.

The funding will be available to Frazee in 2027, but Frazee intends to build the trail in 2025 or 2026.

Funding to establish the new Wannigan Regional Park was provided by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.