Construction and Design


Iron Range OHV Recreation Area - Minnesota

Trails were developed on the former mining area

The Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area was once a taconite mine pit in Minnesota’s Iron Range, an area that had a depressed economy for decades.

As part of the Iron Range rehabilitation, an OHV Recreation Area was developed, using $750,000 in Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds, after a partnership was formed among the City of Gilbert, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and state OHV associations.

Gilbert is part of the Quad-Cities of the Iron Range, which also include Virginia, Eveleth, and Mountain Iron. Gilbert was once known as the red-light district of the Iron Range but the town is headed in the right direction and now proudly proclaims its status as the location of the first OHV area in Minnesota. It is also the fastest growing community of the Quad-Cities,with three restaurants, three gas stations, and two campgrounds that are trail accessible.

Planning for the facility took several years. There was a technical advisory committee and a citizen’s advisory committee. These committees allowed area residents and stakeholders to voice their opinions on the OHV area. Today, the area boasts a DNR Office, a visitor’s center with a classroom for training, and an OHV wash. The area is on 1,200 acres and has 36 miles of 4X4, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV), and Off-Highway Motorcycle (OHM) trails.

Four wheelers on the trail

Four wheelers on the trail

Construction was completed through a partnership between the area tourism board, the community, the DNR, and OHV clubs. Most of the 36 miles of trail were constructed and signed using OHV volunteers. The OHV enthusiasts also assisted with other areas of construction such as the clean-up area and perimeter fencing.

The use of RTP funds for the Iron Range OHV Recreation Area has been a great success. The surrounding area has benefited from the positive economic impact, and OHV enthusiasts have a quality trail system.

More winners of this award

2023: Cacapon State Park Foundation Mountain Bike Trail Program

2023: Hawks Rest Pack Stock Bridge Installation

2021: Vermilion Falls Trail

2021: Climax Tunnel Rehabilitation

2020: Blue Ridge Tunnel Rehabilitation & Trail Project

2020: Milan Trail Huggers Nash Stream Bridge

2019: Weed Patch Mountain Trail

2018: Ouachita National Recreation Trail Shelters - Arkansas and Oklahoma

2017: Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area - Pennsylvania

2016: Kanab Creek OHV Bridge - Utah

2015: Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point Trail Project - Colorado

2015: Joanna Trail Project - Missouri

2014: Abbott Motocross Park - Nebraska

2014: Millersburg Historic Park and Trailhead - Michigan

2013: East and West Twin Creek Bridges - Michigan

2012: Chattahoochee Nature Trails - Florida

2012: Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway - Nevada

2010: Agassiz Recreational Trail - Minnesota

2009: Sam Houston Multiple-Use Trail - Texas

2008: Wanoga Snopark Shelter - Oregon

2007: Potato Knob Trail at Holly River State Park - West Virginia

2006: Indian Canyon Trailhead - California

2006: Upper Waiakea ATV/Dirt Bike Park - Hawaii

2006: County Line Acres Bikeway - Ohio

2005: River Bluff Trail Project - Indiana

2005: Red Creek Bridge - Michigan

2005: MKT Trailhead Project - Missouri

2004: Diana Bend Conservation Area Trail Project - Missouri

2004: Sweetser Switch Trail Project - Indiana

2003: Jane Addams Trail - Illinois

2003: Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Area - West Virginia

2003: Ten Mile Snopark Facilities - Oregon