Casey Jones revitalization

Casey Jones Currie Loop Reconstruction
View looking northwest S curve in progress

Friends of Casey Jones Trail seeking revitalization funding

The Friends of the Casey Jones Trail group is hoping to secure enough support to restore other portions of the trail. They have requested $3.15 million from the State to rehabilitate two segments of the Casey Jones State Trail – the Pipestone trailhead, along with three miles of the trail heading east of the Pipestone and the final segment (3rd phase) of the Currie Loop Trail.

The main issues with the existing Currie Loop section of the Casey Jones State Trail, which was built in the mid-90’s, are that the asphalt surface has degraded to the point of being a rough surface with large cracks that make bike riding uncomfortable and the slope of the trail is not within ADA standards and therefore not considered handicap accessible.  The trail reconstruction will address these issues plus install accessible bench rest stops and road crossings. The current phase (1st phase) of trail construction, approximately 2 miles, from the state park office to the intersection of County Road 38 and State Park Road, is due to be completed by June 30, 2024.  The second phase of the project, which will rehabilitate the section of the trail adjacent to County Road 38 south to Currie, will be completed a year later.

The trail is an essential part of the State Trails system, and funding will improve poorly-ranked segments of the trail, allowing more hikers, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts to use it. The project will not require land acquisition since it is concerned with rehabilitating the existing trail. DNR Division of Parks and Trails is ready to proceed with engineering upon receiving the appropriation, which will allow them to be ready for bid letting in the Spring of 2026.

The Casey Jones State Trail is a historic Minnesota trail that was designated as the first state trail in 1967. Despite the development of over 600 miles of paved trail in Minnesota, less than 20 miles of the Casey Jones State Trail, located in Southwest Minnesota have been developed. The Friends of the Casey Jones Trail was established in 1993 and became an official nonprofit in 2002 to support the trail's development. The trail aims to connect communities in Southwest Minnesota physically, socially, and economically by providing quality and affordable outdoor recreation, activities for families and friends, and a tourism generator to help strengthen the area's communities.

The trail will extend roughly 100 miles from Luverne to Redwood Falls, passing through Rock, Pipestone, Murray, and Redwood Counties. The trail is designed for year-round activities such as biking, hiking, and snowmobiling. Currently, the trail has three built segments, including a 13-mile former railroad grade between the city of Pipestone and the Pipestone/Murray County line. Five miles of this segment are paved, and the remaining eight miles are natural-surfaced. There is also a small natural-surfaced segment that runs west 1.5 miles from the city of Lake Wilson, and a 6-mile paved loop between Lake Shetek State Park and the City of Currie.

You can support the Friends of the Casey Jones Trail in several ways, including writing a letter of support, participating in a task force, providing financial support, or becoming a member. The annual membership dues are $25 for an individual/family, $50 for a contributor, or $250 for a business/sponsor. Monthly meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month in the conference room at Southwest Regional Development Commission. Payment can be mailed to Friends of the Casey Jones Trail Association, PO Box 71, Slayton, MN.

For more information on the Casey Jones Trail

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