Decades of mining laid ground for world class mountain biking |

Decades of mining laid ground for world class mountain biking

Updated: June 12, 2020 06:36 PM

Decades ago, the mining companies gathered valuable ore near Chisholm. "There were nine active mines in this complex," shared Pete Kero, vice president of Iron Range Off-Road Cyclists, IROC for short. "This particular pit area here was idled in the 60s."

And that laid the ground for 15 miles of world class mountain biking on over 1200 acres. Friday was the official opening day of Redhead Mountain Bike Park. Vehicle after vehicle pulled in with bike racks, ready to try out the trails.

Adam Wilke is from St. Paul, but has family in Chisholm. He stopped by to check it out, and was thrilled. "It's beautiful. It felt like I was in the mountains. It's really neat topography, plus there's all that history of mining," he shared.  "I could spend all day here and not ride all of it."

Kero is also the trail designer, and he was so happy to hear good reviews. "It's exhilerating. To see people supporting it and showing interest. It's a beautiful day. And it's something so positive we can do in really challenging times."

He explained that there are various levels of difficulty, so don't be intimidated. "My 10-year-old daughter and her best friend were out here, and they can't wait to come back," Kero shared. Beginner level trails are close to the parking lots.

Jim Plummer from Iron Range Resources said, "It's mineland reclamation at its finest."

It's also helping boost the economy. 30 West Fitness & Rec is expanding from gym services to bike tuning. "During COVID, it gave us time to start up the bike tune-ups," explained Candice Sjogren. They just opened up a year and a half ago in downtown Chisholm.

Her husband, Joel, added, "Our vision is to add bike rentals, to support the Redhead trail. We want people to come from out of town and we want locals to embrace it."

The entrance to use is right at the Minnesota Discovery Center. There are plans to build 10 more miles this year, to be ready in 2021.

Kero recommends downloading the Trailforks app.

Many partners worked on this for years, including the city of Chisholm, Iron Range Resourcse, MDC, IROC, and others.

It's a way mining keeps the Range going, with helmets, not just hardhats.

IROC is always looking for more members and for help taking care of the trails.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


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