Riders in Wells area hitch up to trail network

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 20, 2001


Tuesday, February 20, 2001

WELLS – Using only private money and donations, the Stateliners Snowmobile Club recently completed a new snowmobile trail, connecting Wells residents to a regional network of trails.

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&uot;It was important for us to connect Wells with the trails,&uot; said club member Patti Rathai. &uot;It gives riders access to 24-hour gasoline, and gives us a chance to expand our membership.&uot;

Though the Stateliners only have about 30 members, the club was able to plan, stake and groom the 15-mile trail, which extends from The Golden Bubble on Hwy 22 South through private land to Wells and then back on the other side of the highway.

&uot;We didn’t have any government help on this,&uot; said Rathai. &uot;We just have a very active group committed to making this a safer sport for our kids. We need to have plenty of safe trails.&uot;

The new trail is groomed on both sides of Highway 22 South. It eventually turns east on 160th Street, turns north on 580th Avenue, crosses Highway 109 and heads northwest into Wells. At The Body Shop, it crosses Highway 109 and heads west past Neubauer Oil Company, and Wells Concrete.

It then crosses Broadway, goes by State Farm Insurance (parking is available here to use downtown businesses), goes next to Lori’s Pet Salon, by The American Legion, and heads northwest by Tibodeau Painting. Then it crosses the railroad tracks and heads north to Food-N-Fuel.

To care for the trail, and others in the area, the club recently bought a $23,000 trail groomer, the club’s biggest investment. The club also carefully installed signs along the trail so it is clearly marked for newcomers.

&uot;It may look like a lot of signs to people familiar with the trail, but we wanted it to be user-friendly for new riders and visitors, too,&uot; Rathai said.

The Stateliners now have more than 70 miles of trails in a local network that connects Bricelyn, Frost, Kiester and Walters along with Wells. The system links with Freeborn County’s trail system at Walters.

Work is underway to connect the trails with another system in Blue Earth County from Frost, Rathai said. The club also wants more links to the Freeborn County system through places like Minn Lake.

&uot;We want to be a part of the whole system of southern Minnesota trails. By next season, we should be able to get it done,&uot; Rathai said.

People with questions about the Stateliners should call Tracy Rathai at 507-553-5439.