MINNETONKA, Minn. (KMSP) - A proposed mountain bike trail in Minnetonka is getting some pushback from the community. The city wants to add nearly five miles of trails in Lone Lake Park, but some residents are saying not so fast.
For at least the last couple of years, the rusty patched bumble bee has called Lone Lake Park home. But now, some worry the insect could be stung by a proposal to add mountain bike trails to the popular park.
“It’s really taking up a lot of area of potential nesting and potential overwinter habitat," said bee expert Heather Holm.
The Minnetonka Park Board recommended putting 4.7 miles of mountain bike trails into the 146-acre preserve.
But some neighbors are against the plan, saying it would destroy the fundamental character of the park and disturb the habitat of the rusty patched bumblebee, which has been on the endangered species list since last year.
“I have concerns about the density of the trails, how close they are together. They are going through high value restoration land," said Tom Stockert with Conserve Lone Lake.
The city council considered a petition asking the city to conduct an environmental assessment worksheet to determine the environmental impact of the project. However, the city said it already did a study like that and that study found the project would have no impact on the rusty patched bumblebee.
“I think everyone is concerned about our parks; everyone wants what's best for our parks, but limiting access to our community parks is not the answer," said Ben Marks with Minnetonka Mountain Bike Advocates.
But opponents of the proposal say the city-hired study didn't go far enough, and the rusty patched bumblebees could be pushed out if the mountain bike trails move in.
“If we don't do a proper assessment, we could be putting this endangered species at risk,” Holm said.