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Off-Road Multi-Use Bike Trail from Perham to Pelican Rapids

LiDAR data of the bike trail in Otter Tail County
Off-Road Multi-Use Bike Trail from Perham to Pelican Rapids

Location:  Otter Tail County, Minnesota
Client:  Otter Tail County Highway Department


Minnesota winters are harsh, and so residents are eager to take advantage of the beautiful summer months by spending time around the beautiful forests and lakes throughout the state. This is especially in the region around Maplewood State Park. 

Several years ago, the Otter Tail County Highway Department began an ambitious trail project that would create a trail system between Pelican Rapids and Perham. Creating a trail between these two cities will provide cyclists, joggers/hikers, and others more than 30 miles of new trails. Importantly, this new trail will run through Maplewood State Park, making the park’s existing and extensive trail system a natural extension of this new multi-use trail.

The Project

HEI was retained by the Otter Tail County Highway Department to complete the preliminary and final design, surveying, environmental permitting, aquatic resources (wetland) delineation, culvert sizing, and public engagement.

The full trail system is being designed and constructed in multiple segments. The eastern segment stretches from Perham nearly 7 miles west to OTC CSAH 35. The western segment begins in Pelican Rapids and extends 7 miles east to Maplewood State Park. The middle segment stretches from the east project limits and runs along McDonald and Silent lakes, stretching for approximately 14 miles to a north entrance into Maplewood State Park.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be responsible for constructing the portion of the trail that runs through Maplewood State Park, which will connect the segments to the west and east.

Because the project limits extend nearly 30 miles with some rough terrain, the client and HEI chose to employ drone-based LiDAR (see animations below). This allowed the entire corridor to be surveyed in a fraction of the time and safer than as traditional survey. Traditional survey was still used to verify LiDAR accuracy as well as to survey culverts and locations where the LiDAR was not able to penetrate.Construction is planned for 2021 and 2022 for all segments.
GIF animation of the featured extraction process of the bike trail in Otter Tail Couty
These two animated images show the featured extraction process of two different sections along the bike trail in Otter Tail County, MN. The first sequence in these images shows the amount of LiDAR data originally collected. As these animations progress, the point cloud data is being scaled down to the featured extraction to a useable file size for AutoCAD software systems. GIF animation of the featured extraction process in Otter Tail County

Client Benefits

A new multi-use trail system that will allow cyclists, joggers, and others to enjoy the region between Pelican Rapids and Perham, including Maplewood State Park.