The Ranger - April 6

department of iron range resources and rehabilitation

The Ranger 

April 6, 2022

Ride the Range: regional groups collaborate to promote four trail systems

Ride The Range

Four regional bike trail systems launched a collaborative marketing effort called Ride the Range. Giants Ridge (Biwabik), Cuyuna (Crosby), Redhead (Chisholm) and Tioga (Cohasset) are featured on a new website,, that provides trails, lodging, camping and dining information to visitors. The initiative was led by the four trail systems, Iron Range Tourism Bureau (IRTB), Visit Grand Rapids and the cities of Chisholm and Cohasset.

Ride The Range Logo

The marketing campaign also included the creation of a new logo, a winter photo shoot to promote year-round riding and a four-month digital ad campaign which generated just under 27,000 visits to the new website. Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation supported the project with a $19,950 Culture & Tourism grant. Total project investment was $50,000.

Ride the Range received media coverage by Minnesota Trails Magazine, Star Tribune, Grand Rapids Herald-Review, Minnesota Monthly, Skinny Ski and Aitkin Independent Age newspaper.

Ride The Range

“The four trail systems offer a combined total of 112 miles, and the varying terrain created by the region’s mining history offers a unique riding experience,” said Beth Pierce, IRTB director. “Ride the Range was a very successful collaboration, and the group is planning a second phase which will include another digital campaign, social media presence, and updates to the new website.”

Email Danae Beaudette for Culture & Tourism grant information or call her at 218-735-3022.

East Range communities improve their trail systems with new mapping and signage

East Range Trails Map

The East Range communities of Aurora, Hoyt Lakes, Biwabik and Town of White collaborated on an outdoor trail project that involved print and digital maps, trail signage, and improved connectivity among trail systems. Led by the East Range Joint Powers Board (ERJPB), the project impacted snowmobile, ATV, OHV, pedestrian and bike trails. Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation supported the project with a $13,270 Culture & Tourism grant.

A new online guide was developed that offers interactive maps. The maps are also accessible digitally on tourism websites similar to and on mobile phone trail apps such as Ride Command. Print copies of the maps are distributed at locations across the Iron Range.

East Range Trails

“The coordination with websites and mobile apps is a major step forward for trail information on the East Range. It gives state-of-the-art options for local and visiting trail users to explore the area,” said ERJPB consultant Karl Schuettler. “These innovative tools boost the East Range’s digital presence and help market the region to both tourists and locals. The project is very timely given the uptick in demand for outdoor recreation the past several years.”

Schuettler explained that according to research by the Outdoor Industry Association, 70% of Minnesotans participate in outdoor recreation each year, with 82% of outdoor recreation spending stemming from state residents. Minnesota’s outdoor recreation economy generates $16.7 billion in annual consumer spending and supports 140,000 jobs statewide.

East Range Trails

“By increasing visibility and access to the East Range’s trail systems, we hope to capture a larger share of those dollars spent on outdoor recreation,” said Schuettler.

The project also addressed an analysis of trail hubs, last mile connections and connectivity improvements needed among the existing trail systems. Local vendors were utilized including Barr Engineering and Express Print, both of Hibbing. Barr conducted the mapping and analysis needed for trail development, and Express designed and printed the maps.

East Range Trails

In addition to the four East Range communities and ERJPB, the project garnered support from 12 local municipalities and organizations: Iron Range Tourism Bureau, Ranger ATV and Snowmobile Club, St. Louis County, Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Hoyt Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Biwabik Area Civic Association, Country Inn of Hoyt Lakes, Giants Ridge, Vermilion Trail Campground (Biwabik), Fisherman’s Point Campground (Hoyt Lakes), Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Arrowhead Regional Development Commission.

Email Danae Beaudette for Culture & Tourism grant information or call her at 218-735-3022.

Photos courtesy of Iron Range Tourism Bureau.

Minnesota iron and the green economy

Minnesota Iron & The Green Economy

One hundred and eighty people attended a free public one-day virtual event on March 16 that focused on how the green steel movement will affect Minnesota iron ore. Minnesota Iron & The Green Economy event was hosted by Mineland Vision Partnership (MVP) and Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME).

Topics of discussion included greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, climate change, clean energy and sustainability in the American steel industry. Ten organizations presented information, including American Iron and Steel Institute, Cleveland-Cliffs, Jasper Engineering, Minnesota DNR, Minnesota PCA, Minnesota Power, Natural Resources Research Institute, St. Louis County, US Steel, and US Department of Energy.


Some of the top points presented were:

  • Steel will be in demand. Proposals for greening the United State economy involve major investments in clean energy, infrastructure and upgrading the electric grid – all of which require steel. Steel is an enabler of renewable energy technologies.
  • America’s steel industry is the cleanest and most energy efficient of all the major steel producing countries. Shifts in the steel industry have resulted in greener production, such as pelletized iron ore in place of sintered iron, natural gas instead of coal as an energy source, and the increased use of electric arc furnaces (EAFs). Between 60‐80 million tons of steel scrap is recycled annually into new steel products.
  • Northeastern Minnesota energy and steel sectors are making great progress. Minnesota Power is the first in the state to achieve 50% of energy generated from renewable sources and has a goal to deliver 100% carbon‐free energy by 2050. Minnesota Power’s 50% (and increasing) renewable energy mix helps the region’s mining companies provide the cleanest metals, resulting in the cleanest steel.
Mineland Vision Partnership Logo

A second forum, Minnesota Non‐Ferrous & Green Economy, is scheduled for May. The date will be confirmed soon. Email Shelly Sallee or call her at 218-274-7001 for more information.

MVP is a regional collaboration between mining companies and communities that shape evolving landscapes for current and future generations. Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation is a member of MVP.

Redhead Mountain Bike Park garners environmental award

Redhead Mountain Bike Park

The Redhead Mountain Bike Park in Chisholm won an award from Environmental Initiative for work done to transform an area that housed ten idled iron mines into an outdoor recreation facility. The Environmental Initiative Rural Vitality Award will be presented in a virtual ceremony on May 18.

The 25-mile trail opened in 2021 and traverses amidst 1,225 acres of mining impacted land with rich red earth surfaces, steep and rugged rock ledges, lush green forestry, and open mine pits full of clear blue water. Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation supported the project with Mineland Reclamation and Trail grants to the city of Chisholm.

Redhead Mountain Bike Park

The Redhead land once yielded iron ore that was transferred to America’s steel mills. Mining ceased on the parcels several decades ago, and the property now draws mountain bikers, hikers, e-bikers, kayakers, canoers and other outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

“The Redhead trail represents how mining-impacted land can be responsibly reclaimed for the economic betterment of northeastern Minnesota,” said Commissioner Mark Phillips, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation. “Redhead is adding to the quality of life for local residents, attracting tourism spending, and is a business recruiting tool for the health care, manufacturing and other large industries.”

Photo composite courtesy of Minnesota Discovery Center.

Redhead Mountain Bike Park Logo

Redhead project partners included city of Chisholm, Chisholm Community Foundation, Iron Range Off Road Cyclists, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation, Minnesota Discovery Center, St. Louis County, community volunteers and the local mining industry.

“Outdoor recreation and trails can have wide-reaching impacts economically and socially in rural areas,” said Phillips. “The investments our agency made have been in partnership with a very committed group of community and business leaders. The development in Chisholm clearly demonstrates how outdoor recreation can interconnect with economics and have an impact across the entire region.”

Learn more about Environmental Initiative Awards. The May 18 virtual award ceremony is free and open to the public. Register for the award ceremony online now through May 3.

Gov. Walz proclaims April as Earth Month in Minnesota

Earth Month

Gov. Tim Walz has proclaimed April "Earth Month," confirming the state of Minnesota's commitment to addressing the widespread impacts of climate change.

People and organizations across Minnesota will celebrate Earth Day with activities throughout the month of April in recognition of their commitment to environmental

Read the proclamation.

The Ranger is a publication of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation. Our mission is to invest resources to foster vibrant growth and economic prosperity in northeastern Minnesota.