Tag Archives: Sechler Park

CROCT’s first kiosk is in place at the Sechler Park MTB Trailhead

It’s been nine months since we opened the our first mountain bike trail in Northfield’s Sechler Park and we finally have a kiosk at the trail head. It’s adjacent to the paved Mill Towns Trail at the west end of the Peggy Prowe Pedestrian Bridge, a few yards from the cul-de-sac behind Walgreen’s:

Sechler Park MTB trailhead kiosk, Northfield

Sechler Park MTB trailhead kiosk, Northfield

This type of kiosk was recommended to us by TJ Heinricy, Streets & Parks Supervisor with the City of Northfield. (There’s a similar one in the Babcock Park dog park just across the Cannon River. ) Since this portion of the park is in the flood plain, he thought it best to avoid anything too fancy and anything made of wood.  CROCT paid for it ($475) and TJ covered the not-so-insignificant shipping costs out of his parks budget.

CROCT member and uber volunteer Bill Nelson took charge of the kiosk installation yesterday.  I was his marginally adequate helper:

Bill Nelson installing the Sechler Park MTB trailhead kiosk, Northfield

Griff Wigley & Bill Nelson, Sechler Park MTB trailhead kiosk, Northfield


So thank you Bill and TJ, and thank you to all CROCT members and CROCT donors. Your financial support paid for the kiosk.

Skills park changes in Sechler: teeter totter, dirt pile, and skinnies

We now have a small teeter totter in the Sechler skills park area, approved by the City of Northfield. Props to Jim Wellbrock and fellow volunteers for making it happen:

Galen Murray riding the mtb teeter totter in Sechler Park Jim Wellbrock with mtb teeter totter

We put it to use during Monday night’s youth group ride with great success:

Michael Lehmkuhl watching over the Sechler MTB skills park teeter totter

The nearby dirt pile (used for the baseball fields) now has 5 ‘lines’ on it, providing 5 levels of difficulty for riding over it:

Sechler MTB skills park dirt pile

After watching the problems that some of our Monday night series youth have had on the beam skinny, we’ve started work on reconfiguring it. We don’t have it all worked out but in the interim, there’s now just a single line of 3 beams. We’ve piled the rest of them on the river side of the trail.

Sechler MTB skills park skinny 

Sechler Park’s MTB trail rerouted away from Sechler Road. It’s now safer and more fun

After witnessing the speed of vehicle traffic on the recently reopened Sechler Road (it’s closed to vehicles during the winter months), the CROCT Board made a quick decision last week to remove the ditch crossing bridge that we installed recently and reroute the trail directly over the creek prior to the gate at the north entrance to the park, keeping riders completely away from the road/pavement.

The creek crossing required a bigger bridge than the one we used for the ditch so the two bridges that a crew of CROCT volunteers fashioned from the wood of the old Mill Towns Trail bridge were put into service:


Last Tuesday, CROCT member John Ebling used his tractor to transport the bridges to the shoulder of Sechler Road near the creek crossings:



On Wednesday, crews of volunteers carried and positioned the bridges over the creeks and carved out a new trail corridor route for the large creek crossing:

Yesterday, another crew  of volunteers did the finishing work (rock and gravel ramps) on the approaches to the bridges:

bridge ramp install 1 bridge ramp install 2

And they added a fun bermed corner that keeps riders away from the old trail segment that crossed the ditch:


As the crew was finishing up that berm, they were rewarded by two very appreciative young mountain bikers riding the trail for the first time:


(Photos by Carl Arnold, Laura Chihara, and yours truly.)

Among the volunteer trail workers who participated in this project:

Todd Amunrud
Carl Arnold
Jerry Bilek
Jeremy Bokman
Laura Chihara
John Ebling
Jeff Kreis
Sue Healey
Kevin Herman
Ryan Hutchinson
Scott Koehler
Marty Larson
Stew Moyer
Galen Murray
Todd Orjala
John Rubin
Tony Seidl
David Strachan
Jim Wellbrock

From the photos, there is at least one other I don’t recognize who needs to be added to this list. And there may be others I don’t know about. If you participated, contact me and I’ll add your name to the blog post.

Trail workers needed for Apr 18 Sechler bridge work; also a generator, Sawzalls, chainsaws

Trail Season is upon us! Hooray! While you get out and enjoy Sechler Park, we will be shifting our trail building focus. But FIRST!

flood-damaged Mill Towns Trail bridge flood-damaged Mill Towns Trail bridge

We will be installing some bridges in Sechler Park that will take care of the two water crossings we have there. THIS Saturday (April 18) we’ll be inspecting the old Mill Towns Trail bridge for salvageable materials, and possibly cutting them and getting the ready to transport to the sites on the trail. Next Wednesday night, we’ll do installation.

What we need: Someone with a generator, a sawzall or two and a nice sharp chainsaw. Other than that, some muscle! Bring work gloves and sturdy or steel toe boots, you really will need to bring out your best work boots!

This year, we will be doing the bulk of our trail work out at Caron Park with. So much time was spent in this off season window shopping on sites like www.thetoolboss.com, that now we are more than adequately geared up. The schedule thus far will be the same as last year: Wednesday evenings from 5:00pm to dark, and Saturdays from 10:00am to whenever. I will put up a more detailed schedule once the bridge project at Sechler is complete.

DNR’s ‘yurt guy’ Peter Hark rides Sechler and saw that it was good

Peter Hark is a resident of rural Northfield, the DNR’s Field Operations Manager State Parks and Trails, and a Founding Supporter of CROCT.  He joined me and Marty Larson on his first ride on the Sechler Park MTB trail on Wednesday, a day off for him because it was his birthday. He seemed to enjoy the ride and was complementary on what he saw. For a relatively new mountain biker, he’s not half-bad, and if he got a proper mountain bike with better tires he would definitely be more than marginally adequate.

Marty Larson, Peter Hark Marty Larson, Griff Wigley

I first met Peter in March 2013 at the MN Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota’s Day on the Hill. Later that year, he was part of a DNR team that met with local Rice County public officials in Dundas for a Mill Towns Trail update.  And he may have gotten his first real taste of mountain biking at the 2013 PedalMN Bike Summit, held at the DNR’S Cuyuna Lakes MTB Trail system in Crosby/Ironton.

2013 DNR Mill Towns Trail meeting, Dundas Peter Hark, photographer, 2013 PedalMN Bike Summit, Cuyuna Lakes MTB

Peter’s also been the main guy behind the DNR’s installation of 7 yurts in MN state parks this year, including three at Cuyuna.  See the DNR’s yurts page, an October article in the Strib titled Yurts arrive in Minnesota State Parks, and this WCCO-TV video clip titled State Parks Offering New Camping Experience — Yurts that features Peter: Continue reading DNR’s ‘yurt guy’ Peter Hark rides Sechler and saw that it was good