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Snowmobile trail's reroute jeopardizes businesses in International Falls

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A northern Minnesota convenience store isn't so convenient anymore.

Owners of the Loon's Nest convenience store and the Roadhouse Nightclub on Highway 11 east in International Falls say changing the snowmobile trail that leads into Ranier will cause them to miss out on potential business, the International Falls Journal reported.

“Having a trail right by your door is very important that people stop here. They don't typically like to go out of the way,” Steven Lindberg, owner of Loon's Nest told Northland's NewsCenter. “We captured a lot of business here because of that."

The rerouted trail bypasses that area of Highway 11 east and goes down a country road instead. The International Voyageur Snowmobile Club (IVSC), which maintains 134 miles of trails in the International Falls-Rainy Lake area, says it changed the trail based on safety concerns.

Lindberg told the International Falls Journal that businesses in the area are already struggling financially and the reroute will impact his ability to run the store.

Faye Whitbeck, the International Falls Area Chamber of Commerce president, told the International Falls Journal that the decision to reroute the trail "should have been more inclusive" because "anything that negatively impacts the business community will affect everything in our community."

The chamber of commerce plans to send a letter to the snowmobile club, Rainer City Council, Koochiching County Board and the International Falls City Council asking for them to reconsider, reports note.

Snowmobiling brings in millions of dollars to the northern Minnesota economy every year, reports note.

Snowmobiling season started earlier this month, however not all trails are open. Peak season tends to be in February, Northland's NewsCenter reports.

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