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Fairview Township
Located in Minnesota's Recreational Paradise

"Get Hooked On The Gull Lake Trail"

Check out this section for the most up-to-date information concerning the Fairview Township portion of the Gull Lake Trail.

Fairview Trail Advisory Committee Members
Chair: Jenny Gunsbury
  Marla Yoho
Paul Cibuzar                  Jon Strand
   Monica Kovalchuk 
           Sandy Larson
                                       Larry Zarling

The Fairview portion of the Gull Lake Trail is proposed be a 10-ft. wide paved trail that extends for 7.8-miles along the west side of Cass County Hwy. 77. It will start at Woods Drive to the south and end at Sandy Point Road to the north.


It's Ribbon-Cutting Time!
To our generous supporters…
Please join us for the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony as we open the 
Fairview Trail
Wednesday, October 6th at 4:30 PM
The ceremony will take place at Wood Drive, where the East Gull Lake Trail ends,
and the new Fairview Trail begins!
This 4.1-mile trail has been constructed using funds from the Greater Minnesota Regional
Parks and Trails Commission, Cass County Fund 73, DNR Federal Recreational Trail Program,
Initiative Foundation, Maddens, Fairview Township Community Projects Fund and numerous private donations.

We know there's some landscaping, driveway and fence work that still needs to be done, but that beautiful black asphalt is ready for us to play on! Time to celebrate!!


What’s up with the trail construction?
As many of you have seen, Gladen Construction has moved A LOT of dirt over the last 11 weeks. It has been exciting to see the shaping come along!
The trail bed is in place and has been compacted over and over.
A small section of concrete curbing was installed in one short area where the trail will closely abut private property and run-off must be channeled away.  
Gray rock has been placed to stabilize the back slope and spillways and new culverts have been placed under driveways.
Braun Intertec will continue to conduct testing of all materials and compaction to ensure that the trail base meets all requirements for compaction and content.
Knife River will be installing a final layer of Class 5 (the base for the paving) by the end of this week.

Well, first, we had some delays due to the necessity of burying deeper or moving, the natural gas, electricity, and telephone lines within the right-of-way. We’re still waiting for CenturyLink to move some pedestals…not a surprise. The construction crew could move them out of the way, especially since some are no longer used, but they would be subject to hefty fines.
Knife River has the contract for paving the trail. Unfortunately, they won’t have their mobile asphalt plant back in this area until about September 13th. Once they start paving, which should only take 3 to 4 days, the contractors can move back in to install the fencing, and then finish grading the backslopes and in-slopes in preparation for hydro-seeding.
So, the completion date has been moved to October 1st rather than the original September 15th. After all the years of preparing for this trail, we can handle a two-week delay.

As mentioned in our last update, on July 20th we made a presentation to the Legislative-Citizen Commission for Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) to support our grant application for the $2.3million we anticipate needing for the final segment of our trail. On August 26th they should announce which applications they intend to support and how much $ they intend to allocate. In the meantime, due to deadline requirements, we also made an application to the Greater MN Regional Parks & Trails Commission (GMRPT) for the same $2.3million. While we don’t expect to get both grants, or the full amount from either one, we applied for them in the hopes that the GMRPT would award us some of the funds the LCCMR won’t be able to cover. These grants usually award funds based on the applicant having 25% of the amount from other sources. Both organizations require the funds to be approved by the legislature which won’t meet again until 2022, with funds not available until July 1st, 2022. While we’re waiting, we’re making grant applications to smaller foundations in hopes of getting any $10,000 to $20,000 grants that will help us build up our 25% matching funds.

Watch for our announcement on August 26th about the LCCMR grant …only 15 days!

Fairview Trail Ground-Breaking Ceremony May 26th



Trail Construction is Beginning May 17th !!
Work on the trail will be starting Monday, May 17th! This week you will see survey crews out marking Cty 77 right-of-way and the trail placement. On Monday, Fletchers will start the clearing and grubbing. Erosion control measures will also be put into place.
On May 24th, Gladen Construction workers will begin the actual grading process.
We will receive a weekly newsletter, keeping us up to date on the progress of this monumental project.

Issue #1 of that newsletter is attached.
If you have any questions about this project, feel free to contact us at the town hall:

We're happy to share the good news ... The Fairview Trail is coming your way!
On Tuesday, April 13th the Fairview Town Board accepted a bid in the amount of $1,458,982.70 from Gladen Construction out of LaPorte, MN for the construction of 4.1 miles of trail from Woods Dr to Hunters Ridge Trail.
Gladen has indicated they should start construction at the end of May or early June, depending on the weather, so don't be surprised when their machines start moving in!
The first half of our trail will soon be a reality!!

We're still working hard to raise the funds for the last 3.7 miles of the trail and have submitted a $2million grant application to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources last week. We're constantly on the look-out for other potential grants as they become available.
This second half of the trail will be a little more costly since it has some severe terrain issues.
If you have an interest in making a donation to help us with the many expenses that the grants won't cover, please contact us at We'll be more than happy to provide you with the paperwork for a tax-deductible donation through the Brainerd Community Foundation.

March 9, 2021 Annual Meeting Trail Summary

After months of delays due to COVID-19 and multiple revisions to the plans to meet ADA and County-State-Aid Highway requirements to prevent drainage and safety issues, we finally went out for bids in August 2020. Although 18 Primary bidders downloaded our plans, there were only 3 bids submitted. They ranged from $3.5 million to $4.3 million, 200% over our committed funds.

The goal figure was $1,717,900, as per an estimate from our engineers. Total funds raised to date include: $100,000 DNR Regional Trail Grant (grant is now expired, but did reimburse $68,278 of engineering expenditures), $150,000 DNR Federal Trail Grant, $1,206,311 GMRPT (Greater MN Regional Parks & Trails) Grant, $180,000 Cass County Fund 73 grant, $2,500 Initiative Foundation, $41,432 in private donations, and approximately $72,000 from the township Community Project Fund.

Total expenditures to date are $178,367 covering not only trail plan engineering but archaeological and topographical surveys, soil borings and analysis, and wetland delineations. The good news is that all the archaeological and environmental reports have been approved by the state and Indian Affairs. Unfortunately, the bids far exceeded the monies raised. 

In discussing ways to reduce costs the county highway engineer offered to allow 5-ft extensions of the pavement on each side of the road when they do their mill and repave of Cty 77 in 2024, as was done in LakeShore. That hasn’t worked well in LakeShore where the speed limit is 30 mph, and would be a real problem here, where the road is windier and speeds travelled usually exceed the posted 55 mph.

Other routes were considered but rough or steep terrain or attempting to cross State of MN land was an issue everywhere. Easement and safety issues make routing onto Pinewood Dr unfeasible.

Our Bolton & Menk engineer worked with the Cass County Engineer and found areas where we could “value-engineer” the lower 4.1 miles. They identified areas where we could save on boulder walls and chain-link fencing in 12 areas if property owners would grant us “temporary construction easements”. This could potentially save us up to $125,000. All 12 owners gave us the easements and waived the acquisition cost, which they are entitled to via a federal law.

The GMRPT and DNR Federal Trail program agreed to extend their contract deadlines from June 30, 2021 to June 30, 2022. They also revised their contracts to allow grant reimbursements for only 4.1 miles, opposed to the original 7.8 miles.

All revisions to the plans and specifications have now been made and approved by the County Engineer. Bid requests are currently being published with a bid-opening date set on March 25th. With the receipt of an acceptable bid, construction can start as soon as possible and could be completed by this fall.

An application for an LCCMR (Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources) grant for the balance of the trail (3.7 miles) is currently being compiled, with an application deadline of April 2nd. The LCCMR will review the applications and those with a high-enough ranking will be selected for a presentation to the Legislature in late July. If an application is accepted, it will be forwarded to the legislature for appropriation sometime in the January to May 2022 timeframe. Money is available for expenditure on July 1, 2022. This project is essentially “shovel-ready”, which means we could be ready to react immediately. Connections are being made with local members of the LCCMR to give this application more visibility.

It’s time for an end-of-the year update on the Fairview Trail

When last we wrote, our plans on how to proceed with the Fairview portion of the trail were still up in the air. As with most things in 2020, nothing worked out quite the way any of us anticipated.

The bids we received in July (2020) far exceeded the original engineers estimates for the entire 7.8-mile 10-ft wide paved trail. Our fund-raising goal was $1.7million, but bids came in from $3.5 to 4.3million.

Over the last 6 months we have worked diligently to find a way to make the trail a reality, while retaining the funds that we have. Our engineer from Bolton & Menk has worked with the Cass County Highway Engineer to find areas where “value-engineering” could save us some money.

The first analysis made it apparent that the funds we have collected and been granted will only allow the construction of 4.1 miles of trail, starting at Woods Dr (where the East Gull Lake Trail ends) and ending in the vicinity of Hunters Ridge Trail.

Since our grant contract with the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission ($1,206,311 grant) and the DNR Federal Trail Grant Program ($150,000 grant) required the completion of the entire 7.8 miles, making the change to 4.1 miles required their formal approval. As of last week, we received the approval from the GMRPT and we hope to receive the Federal approval soon.

Through the “value-engineering” process on the first 4.1-mile segment, the engineer identified areas along the trail where we could save on boulder walls and chain-link fencing if twelve different property owners would grant us “temporary construction easements” on their property. In each of these cases the trail will not be constructed on their property, but by allowing the contour of their land to be altered where it meets the county road easement, we could potentially save up to $125,000. As of yesterday, all twelve owners have agreed to the temporary construction easements and have waived the acquisition cost they would have been entitled to by federal law.

Now that we have those easement agreements, our engineer can revise the plans accordingly and we anticipate publishing bid requests in mid to late January, with a planned bid opening in mid-February, with construction planned for this spring/ summer (2021).

Once we have the current construction costs from these bids, we will be able to estimate the costs more accurately for constructing the last 3.7 miles of the Fairview Trail and can start grant applications and fund-raising accordingly.

The cities of LakeShore and Nisswa just received a $2.3million grant from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission for the completion of their segments of the trail, with construction planned for 2022.

We appreciate the support and encouragement we have received as we’ve made these changes, and look forward to sharing more news on a construction timeline once we open bids in February.

Well, we’ve hit another rough patch on the trail …just when things seemed to be movin’ along.

After months of delays due to COVID-19 and multiple revisions to the plans to meet ADA and County-State-Aid-Highway requirements to prevent drainage and safety issues, we finally went out for bids in August. Although 18 primary bidders downloaded our plans, there were only 3 bids submitted. They ranged from $3.5million to $4.3million, 200% over our committed funds.

The goal figure for fund raising was always $1,717,900, an estimate received from our trail engineers. Total funds raised to date include: $100,000 DNR Regional Trail grant (this grant expired 6/30/2020), $150,000 DNR Federal trail grant, $1,206,311 Greater MN Regional Parks and Trails grant (GMRPT), $180,000 Cass County Fund 73 grant, $2,500 Initiative Foundation, $34,584 in donations to the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, Cash donations of $6,848 and approximately $72,000 from the Fairview Township Community Projects fund (totaling approximately $1,750,000, including funds needed to cover expenditures not allowed by the grants).

Total expenditures to-date are near $178,000 covering not only trail plan engineering but archaeological surveys, topographical surveys, soil borings and analysis, and wetland delineations. The good news is that all of the archaeological and environmental reports have been approved by the state and Indian Affairs. The bad news, the bids we received far exceed the monies we have raised.

In discussing ways to reduce costs the county highway engineer has offered to allow a 5-ft extension of the pavement on each side of the road when they do their mill and repave of Cty 77 in 2024, as was done in LakeShore. That’s an unacceptable option since it doesn’t work well in LakeShore where the speed limit is 30 mph, and our portion of the road is windier and speeds usually exceed the 55 mph limit.

We have looked at other route options, but rough, deep and steep terrain or attempting to cross State of MN land will be an issue everywhere. We considered routing the trail on Pinewood Dr. to Cty 15 and then to Cty 77, but easement and safety issues make that route impossible.

We met with the Executive Director of the Greater MN Regional parks and Trails Commission last week to find ways to work around the requirements and deadlines of the grant. It looks as though the expiration of the GMRPT grant will be extended to June 30, 2022 (initial deadline was 6/30/2021) which gives us some additional time to raise more money.  

So, there are a couple of action items for going forward at this point. First, we will have the plans reviewed for “value-engineering” where possible. That engineering process will be expedited in the hopes of going out for bid in the January-February frame, when contractors haven’t already filled their production schedules for 2021. Contractors are busier than anticipated this year and going out for bid in August put production timeline limitations on what contractors could even bid. Hopefully, this will bring the cost down somewhat and be a better timeframe to encourage more competitive bidding.

Second, we have been made aware of two newly funded viable grant sources. Timelines for applications and money availability are unknown right now, but we will pursue them. Getting these grants, if they are sufficient, will allow the entire 7.8 miles of the trail to be completed.

As a last resort, if we aren’t successful with the new grants or there’s not enough to cover the shortfall, the Director will also approach the GMRPT Commission with a proposal to allow us to start the trail and build as far as our current funds will allow. Since this does not meet the requirements of our current grant(s), it may not be approved. We would also have to get approval from the DNR Federal trail grant providers. We should note that they will not allow us to complete only the dirt-work portion of the trail, it must be a paved surface.

This trail is essential …it’s not a “want”, it’s a “NEED”! The GMRPT has assured us they will be our champion in finding a way to make this trail a reality. They can’t grant us any more money, but they can help us keep the funds we’ve been awarded and help us to find a way to raise more.

The grant contracts have been signed! Survey work right ahead!

Hurray! Hurray!
The Fairview Trail is getting closer to becoming a reality!!
We have finally signed all the contracts with the State for the two DNR grants and the GMRPT grants! We also have signed the first contract with Bolton & Menk, the engineering firm who will be providing the design work and overseeing the construction of our trail!

The Preliminary Engineering and Layout Development Phase:
Over the next few weeks Bolton & Menk will be completing a topographic survey of the west side of Cty 77 from the centerline for the entire 7.8 mile stretch of the trail. This survey will determine the existing right-of-way and coordinate the location of the utilities that currently exist within that right-of-way.

Throughout this process, they will be gathering existing topographic information along the corridor which will aid in preparing a surface model of the terrain in an AutoCAD format. This surface model will incorporate all of the information that was obtained in the “wetland delineation report” which was completed last fall.
This model will not only highlight major design features and identify wetland impacts but will also identify property impacts that require temporary construction easements or potential permanent easement acquisition needs.

We should take this opportunity to tell you what isn't going to happen with this trail... there won't be any road construction involved with this trail. It won't be a full-blown road re-configuration. The road will never be closed off due to this trail work. There are no retention ponds or major "curb-and-guttering" plans included in our project or in our budget .... just a nice, quiet, 10-ft wide paved trail.  

We had hoped to be ready for surveying at the beginning of August, but paperwork delays have caused us to be a few weeks behind schedule. We hope to be moving on to the Final Design and Plan Development Phase sometime in November. And, most importantly, we're still expecting the trail to up and ready for walking, biking and running by the end of next August!
We’ll keep you updated!

We're getting closer ...we have a construction time line!

For all of our "Gull Lake Trail" followers, we thought it was time to give you a little update on our progress.
First, and most importantly, the Governor did sign the bill awarding us a $1,206,319 Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails grant. When combined with the DNR Federal Trails grant of $150,000, the DNR Regional Trails grant of $100,000, the Cass County Fund 73 grant of $180,000, the Initiative Foundation grant of $2,500, the Fairview Townships' Community Project Fund of about $48,000 and private donations and pledges totaling about $38,000, we should have just about enough funds to cover construction of the 7.8-mile paved trail.
If we thought it required patience waiting to see if we were awarded those grants, we've discovered that it takes even more patience as we wait for permission to start spending those funds.
After the grants are awarded there are many "requirements" and reports that must be met before we may even start the design and engineering phase. We have completed Wetland Delineations, made commitments to purchase "wetland credits", completed an Archaeological Survey, and filled-out and filed countless environmental and historical forms. All of those reports and forms must circulate through various governmental offices before we will receive the contracts that allow us to proceed.
30-days here and 30-days there just seem a matter of course. We are currently awaiting a review of our Archaeological Survey (the physical survey did not find any questionable soils or artifacts) by the MN Indian Affairs Council. That review should be completed later this month. We believe at that point our grant coordinator will start processing our contracts with the DNR and GMRPT so we can move forward, but even that contract process may take 3 to 4 weeks.
Our engineer firm, Bolton & Menk, has provided us with a tentative schedule as follows (dependent on when the contracts get signed):
Preliminary Engineering and Layout: August-October
Final Design and Plan Development: November-February
Bidding: March 2020
Construction: June-August 2020

That design and engineering schedule seems so very long, but within the process there are countless agencies who must review and approve those plans, and numerous permit applications to be processed through the Corp of Engineers, DNR, M.P.C.A., etc.

This all seems so long, but with every day that passes, we are one day closer to having our trail!!
As early as next August or September, the trail should be in place and we will all be enjoying the freedom of a safe and user-friendly place to walk, run, bike and revel in our beautiful environment! It's getting closer!!!

281 Pints of Beer on the the wall, 281 Pints... Take One Down, Pass It Around..... "Pints For A Purpose" Was a Big Success

We’re happy to say we had a darn fine bunch of beer drinkers at our “Pints for A Purpose” fundraiser last week. In fact, the Jack Pine Brewery contributed $1 for each of those beers, or $281 to our Fairview Trail fund.

We had some mighty good eaters there, too! Jake’s Gull Lake Grille donated 30 dozen of their Jake’s Wings, and Papa Murphy’s contributed an amazing selection of their tasty pizzas to accompany those beers. The free-will offerings for the food added another $448 to our coffers.

The evening was a huge success, both as a fundraiser and a sharing experience! The parking lot overflowed down the roads and the Brewery was packed with trail enthusiasts wanting updates on the status of the trail and excited to make a contribution for the ancillary costs we are experiencing to qualify for construction grants. Our account grew by $1,870, plus we received $1,760 in cash donations. And to top it off, some trail supporters contributed laser-engraved mugs and velour & sherpa plush throws embroidered with the trail logo, worth over $1,000, to use as donation incentives.

We were elated that donations for the evening have already totaled about $5,340, and we are hoping to still see more. A guest who made a $100 donation at the event was admiring her new navy mug so much that her husband had her come in with another $100 so he could have his own, in green.

As an added incentive, Don and Carol Vogt offered up a challenge to match up to $5,000 in donations raised at the "Pints For A Purpose"!

In case you didn’t get a mug, just make out a check for $100 or more to the Fairview-Gull Lake Trail and send it to the Fairview Town Hall at 11491 Gull Lake DR SW, Brainerd, 56401. Or you can go to and donate online.   And if you’d like to cuddle up under one of those navy throws, just make that donation for at least $250.

As an update, we have been awarded grants totaling $1,686,819, which should cover most of the projected construction costs. These grants are from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks & Trails, the Cass County Fund 73, The DNR (both Federal and Regional), and the Initiative Foundation. However, in order to secure the larger grants, we will have unanticipated costs for a wetland delineation, purchasing wetland credits, archaeological surveys, etc, which will total over $50,000 and cannot be covered by grant proceeds.

Once again, we want to thank Jack Pine Brewery, Jake’s City Grille, Papa Murphy’s Pizza and the many trail supporters who came to share the evening with us. It was amazing!!


Tax-Exempt Donations Through the Community Foundation

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the Fairview Township portion of the Gull Lake Trail, you have two options:

If you like to make it online, just visit the Community Giving website:

Be sure to choose the "Fairview-Gull Lake Trail Fund"

Or you may send a check or other gifts to:
101 7th Avenue South,  #101
St. Cloud, MN 56301

Be sure to write "Fairview - Gull Lake Trail" on the memo line



Pints For A Purpose
Join us on Wednesday, May 1st at the Jack Pine Brewery for "Pints For A Purpose" to support the Fairview Trail

Need an incentive to donate?

With every donation of $100 to $249, you'll get an exclusive coffee mug, laser engraved with our "Get Hooked On The Trail" logo. Enjoy your favorite brew as you anticipate your early morning run or ride on the trail. Choose from Deep Navy or Forest Green

Everyone donating $250 or more will receive a plush Mountain Lodge Throw, embroidered with our "Get Hooked On The Trail" logo. You'll bring comfort, style and warmth to your home with this luxurious blanket/ throw. The cozy navy fleece face reverses to soft Sherpa. The throw measures 50" by 60" and is machine washable. Click on the header to see a picture for reference only....our colorful logo will be embroidered in the upper corner.

Current Status of the Fairview Trail
A summary of the progress made on the Fairview Trail in 2018 and early 2019
- The trail logo was revised twice to make it inclusive of Nisswa, and to read “Get Hooked on the Gull Lake Trail”.
- The Fairview Trail Advisory Committee (FTAC) has used local venues, such as the Community Outreach Day, the Nisswa Firecracker Race, the Habitat for Humanity bike ride and other events, to promote support for the trail by setting up displays and sharing information.
- The FTAC and the Fairview Board of Supervisors took on the responsibility for litter clean-up on a 2-½  mile section of Cty. 77 through the “Adopt-A-Highway” program. Committee and Board members, as well as Cass County Sheriffs’ Deputy Brad Rittgers, worked together in the fall for the first clean-up session. The next one is planned for 10 am on Saturday, May 4th. 
- Lake Shore held a ribbon cutting in October to celebrate the opening of the new portion of Cty 77 and 3.9 miles of trail.
- Last summer the FTAC painted “the Rock” with the new logo, which created a lot of favorable conversation and press about the trail. Unfortunately, the artwork was painted over in about a week. - In February applications were submitted for the DNR Regional Trail and the DNR Federal Recreational Trail grants. In June we received notices of both grants being awarded for $100,000 and $150,000 respectively.
- After being approved, the DNR requires extensive documentation concerning endangered species, archaeology and the environment before the grant funds can be awarded. As part of that documentation and approval process, a Wetland Delineation Report was completed in September. That report is needed to gain approval from the SWCD, US Corps of Engineers, DNR and Cass County ESD for the placement of the trail within the county right-of-way and to document any wetland displacement and replacement plans. This process also requires the purchase of “Wetland Credits”.
- In July an application for a Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails grant in the amount of $1,212,000 was submitted. In December we were notified the GMRPT had approved the application, pending the allotment of Legacy funds by the state legislature by May 31st.
- If the funds are allocated and all required paperwork (mentioned above) is submitted and accepted by the proper agencies, the funds would become available no earlier than July 1st. Only then can the actual design and engineering work begin. Specs could potentially be submitted for the bid process by late summer, with the possibility that some clearing and wetland circum-navigation work could begin in the fall of 2019. We anticipate actual construction taking place in the summer of 2020.
- The major grants from Cass County, the DNR and the GMRPT will cover most of the expenses, but the construction estimates we have been working off are over 2 years old and do not include expenses such as purchasing wetland credits at a cost of $42,000.  In addition, these grant funds are issued as reimbursements, which means the billings must be approved and paid before they can be submitted to the grant agencies for reimbursement. This may require a line-of-credit through Bremer Bank, with the associated financing costs.
- The FTAC has continued to raise funds whereever they see a possibility. As part of that process, they will be hosting a “Pints for A Purpose” fund-raiser for the Fairview Trail at the Jack Pine Brewery on Wednesday, May 1st from 5 to 8 PM. $1 of each pint sold will benefit the trail. In addition, all proceeds from the sale of Jake’s chicken wings (donated by Jake’s Grille) and pizza (donated by Papa Murphy’s) will go towards trail construction. The committee is also looking for partners who will issue matching fund challenges as part of the event.
- On April 25th, Jenny and Marla will be speaking about the trail progress on the Community Focus program on WJJY.
- Jenny has written an article sharing the story of the Gull Lake Trail origin, construction plans, and future connections to  appear in the April/ May issue of the Lake Country Journal.
- Anyone donating $100 - $249 towards the Fairview Trail will receive a limited-edition engraved Gull Lake Trail mug. Anyone donating at least $250 will receive a plushvelour and sherpa throw embroiderd with the trail logo.

The Fairview Trail Advisory Comittee has worked hard to build support!

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