Frequently Asked Questions
What is the trail like?
Right now, it's a work in progress. The ultimate goal is a 10-mile safe walking and biking loop around White Bear Lake. Some segments are or will be shared-use trails separated from motorized traffic, such as the completed Mark Sather Trail in White Bear Lake (Lake Avenue) and South Shore, which will be completed by late 2022. Others, like segments in Mahtomedi and Birchwood, use existing “quiet streets," roads with little traffic so motorized and non-motorized users can safely coexist. Highway 96 along the north side of the lake and Highway 244 through Dellwood are still in the planning stages, so you'll need to use the roadway in these segments. We hope the units of government that have received Legislative funding will choose to create trail segments that are safe, engaging, minimally invasive to the environment, and fitted to their community.
How is the project going?
Great! We achieved our objective of securing funding for the entire trail when the 2020 state bonding bill allocated $3.6 million to Ramsey County, the City of White Bear Lake, White Bear Township, and Dellwood to complete the final segments. As communities complete the actual construction, our role has shifted to monitoring progress, raising funds for amenities, connecting community members with trail-related news and events, and advocating for features to maximize safety and utility for trail users.
What is the role of the Lake Links Association?
Our primary role since we organized in 2017 has been to help raise $7.87 million from the Minnesota Legislature to complete the project. These funds were assigned to local and county units of government for preliminary engineering, trail alignment, design, and build-out. Included in this is the 2020 assignment of $3.6 million in state funding for segments running along Highway 96 through White Bear Lake and White Bear Township on the north shore of the lake, and Highway 244 through Dellwood. With primary funding of the 10-mile route complete, we are shifting from a focus on fundraising to being an advocacy non-profit. We work daily with units of government to monitor the progress of funded but uncompleted segments and continue advocating for access to safe routes of passage for people who walk and bike. This not only builds the sense of community in our area, but makes it possible to get to area destinations without depending on a car or truck.
Did the Minnesota Legislature provide funding to the Lake Links Association?
No. We worked with local legislators to obtain nearly $8 million in state funding for local units of government to use to complete the trail. The funds are held by the Metropolitan Council and distributed to those units of government as they complete work on their trail segments.
Why wasn't the project completed years ago?
The 2001 Lake Links Trail Network Master Plan supported the creation of a nonmotorized route around White Bear Lake. However, at the time no one stepped forward to take on the mammoth task of coordinating a solution across multiple cities, townships, and counties. In addition, the planners appear to have had incorrect information about the availability of right-of-way in certain sections. Together, these challenges back-burnered the project for nearly two decades until the Lake Links Association was formed and took the lead on coordinating and advocating for efforts to complete the trail.
How can I help?
First and foremost, you can use the trail often and in a way that respects other trail users. Let us know if you spy any problem spots or have suggestions for improvements. Sign up below for our newsletter to receive trail updates and notification of future events. If you'd like to make a donation to the Lake Links Association you can do so here.