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From mining to biking: How Minnesota’s Cuyuna Range became an off-road cycling destination

by Dan Kraker, MPR

Seventy-year old John Schaubach steadily ground the gears of his mountain bike up a winding trail to the summit of Miner’s Mountain in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area — then let out a war whoop as he surveyed the commanding view of aqua blue lakes surrounded by steep red hills, studded with lush green trees.

“The miracle of the power of nature to regenerate is probably what people should come out here to see,” he said as he caught his breath.

Decades ago this was a central part of Minnesota’s iron ore country. Deep mines in the region’s rich red earth yielded the iron ore that fed the nation’s steel mills that fueled the country’s 20th century industrial growth.

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