Those interested in recreational biking, running or walking need to check out the newly mapped out trails located in and around the city of Onamia.
With aid from a Minnesota 4-H Foundation Helping Hands Grant, and support from Mille Lacs Health System, the Crosier Community of Brothers and Priests, the Onamia Civic Association and the City of Onamia, the Mille Lacs Swamp Stompers 4-H Club has taken on several projects designed to promote wellness in the lakes area through walking, running and biking.
Last fall, the club replaced interpretive signs along the Soo Line Bike Trail, and just recently they installed maps depicting over a dozen walking, running and biking routes in the Onamia area.
With the help of local walking enthusiasts Susan Bracken, Brother Emil Hartman and Joan Ellingson, along with area 4-H advisors Patti Hook, Arden Virnig and Tina Dickson, 4-H members have designated what they call “healthy community walking and running trails,” – trails ranging in distance from a few blocks to several miles in length.
The shortest trek is the .12-mile Nessawae Shortcut walk.
There are three 1-mile paths, including the Soo Line Loop, the Crosier Trail and the Depot Loop.
The longest stretch is the entire Soo Line Trail, and the next longest is a 3.1-mile leg called the “All-American Loop” honoring the Agnew twins, Melissa and Jennifer of Onamia, both of whom earned All-American status as college athletes.
Trail maps are being printed and eight signs are in place around Onamia directing walkers, runners and bikers to various routes.
Red dots on the maps indicate where in Onamia a patron is located in relation to the 15 trails. There are also yellow, diamond-shaped icons in place alerting patrons and motorists of an intersection of the path and a road.
Those hoping to use the paths are encouraged to pick a route that suits their needs. “We hope as many of our citizens as possible will use these trails to help stay fit,” Hook said. “There are routes designed for all levels of walkers, runners and bikers.”