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COGGS volunteers see notable increase in local trail use

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DULUTH, Minn. -- The COVID-19 Pandemic has taken away many athletic activities in the Northland.

Mountain biking has not been one of them. The Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS) volunteer bike club has seen a notable increase in trail usage this year.

"Off the cuff, I'd say it's up 400 percent. You cannot go into the park without running into smiling people that are running or walking, or riding their bikes," said Hartley Nature Center Trail Steward Jim Schoberg.

"We're just fortunate that we have these trails in this town. We have a legitimate trail culture in this town, and it's not just mountain biking. It's running and it's skiing, and it's climbing. We have a very well established trail culture and COGGS is a big part of that."

He says that the trails require maintenance to stay in ride-able condition, especially with the recent uptick in traffic.

"The time that we put into the trials makes a difference, and that's why people continue to come out."

Weather and schedule permitting, Schoberg and a small group of volunteers hike out into Hartley Nature Center every Tuesday night with trail building tools. Whether they're blazing out new trails, re-routing old ones, or just patching up some routine blemishes, it's their job to take care of it.

Their goal is to complete a 105 mile trail system throughout the city of Duluth, which was approved by the city. Schoberg estimates that COGGS puts in 4,000 hours of volunteer trail work per year.

For more information, or to get involved, visit the COGGS website.

Matt Halverson

Sports Anchor and Reporter

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