Hwy 2 – Cass Lake Corridor Study

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How do you use Hwy 2 in Cass Lake? View full-size mapSome may use it as a connector between Bemidji and Grand Rapids. Others may use it as a connection to people, neighborhoods, businesses, or even school. The safety of all who use this corridor is a growing concern. Could we make improvements that would provide a safer experience for all modes of transportation?

To answer that question we are conducting a planning study in partnership with the City of Cass Lake and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The study seeks to evaluate the potential improvement options available and develop a community-supported vision.

Check out the tabs below to interact and learn more about this study. Use the Forum to discuss ideas or the Map to drop a pin and discuss a specific location.

Don't hesitate to contact us directly, or use the Comments & Questions tab to pose questions for the good of the group. We look forward to hearing your input.

-Miigwech

How do you use Hwy 2 in Cass Lake? View full-size mapSome may use it as a connector between Bemidji and Grand Rapids. Others may use it as a connection to people, neighborhoods, businesses, or even school. The safety of all who use this corridor is a growing concern. Could we make improvements that would provide a safer experience for all modes of transportation?

To answer that question we are conducting a planning study in partnership with the City of Cass Lake and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The study seeks to evaluate the potential improvement options available and develop a community-supported vision.

Check out the tabs below to interact and learn more about this study. Use the Forum to discuss ideas or the Map to drop a pin and discuss a specific location.

Don't hesitate to contact us directly, or use the Comments & Questions tab to pose questions for the good of the group. We look forward to hearing your input.

-Miigwech

  • Study purpose

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    We heard that safety and mobility for people walking and biking is a concern for the Band and community. The study will develop an improvement plan which sets us on a path toward securing funding for a future project that will bring the community’s vision for the corridor to life.

  • Study team

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    A steering committee of local stakeholders and community leaders are guiding the study team. Everyone that interacts with the Hwy 2 corridor in Cass Lake is invited to participate and provide input. Members of the committee include:

    • Mike Chosa, LLBO Communications Director (Chair)
    • Matt Connor, LLBO Tribal Roads Director
    • Connie Littlewolf, Cass Lake Local Indian Council Chairperson
    • Matt Erickson, MD Pawn & Bait Owner
    • Lee Giffen, Pike Bay Township Supervisors

    Check out the Project Documents to view the full public engagement plan for this study

  • Potential outcomes

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    We will develop multiple options for the future of U.S. Hwy 2 based on community input and traffic modeling, and then determine a recommended option based off input from community members and stakeholders. We will use this study and the recommended option to pursue funding for a project, which may take several years. It will also involve additional public outreach along with formal consent from the City of Cass Lake and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

  • History of the Land

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    The following history is excerpted from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe website (for more information, visit https://www.llojibwe.org/aboutUs/history.html)

    When the first settlers arrived in this area, the Ojibwe had been living throughout northern Minnesota. The Pillager and the Mississippi bands had homes and villages on or near Cass Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish, and Leech Lake. The area was covered with dense forests of pine, poplar, oak, cedar, maple, birch and spruce.

    Treaties were negotiated to acquire a vast majority of this land in exchange for cash, goods and the setting aside of land for reservations that would forever be home of the Ojibwe. [In 1855, prior to the creation of Minnesota as a state,] the Ojibwe living around Leech Lake signed treaties with the United States Government, and by doing so, the Leech Lake Reservation was created.

    Congress passes the Dawes Act in 1887, which, combined with the Nelson Act two years later, allots 80 acres of non-pine land, within the boundaries of the reservation, to each tribal family. The remainder of the non-allotted Indian lands were then opened up and sold or granted to timber companies, railroads and settlers. In 1896 and 1898 the towns of Walker and Cass Lake were established.

  • History of the Highway

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    A state constitutional amendment creating a system of 70 trunk highways (including U.S. Hwy 2) was adopted in 1921. U.S. Hwy 2 followed the route of old state Trunk Highway 8, and was fully paved prior to 1940.

    Several plans and studies have identified Hwy 2 as a barrier for people walking and biking in Cass Lake, and have recommended improvements:

    • City of Cass Lake Comprehensive Plan (2014) [http://ci.casslake.mn.us/uploads/3/5/8/9/35899314/comp_plan_2014.pdf]
    • Cass Lake-Bena Safe Routes to School Plan (2015)
    • MnDOT Pedestrian and Bicycle Scoping Recommendations Report (2020)
  • MnDOT and Tribal Governments

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    The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) seeks to foster and facilitate positive government-to-government relations between MnDOT and all federally recognized Minnesota Tribal Nations.

    MnDOT acknowledges that the facilities and assets of MnDOT are located on the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Anishinaabe (Ojibwe/ Chippewa), Dakota, and Winnebago people, and many additional diverse Indigenous peoples from the time of human settlement to today and tomorrow. MnDOT also acknowledges that the lands that now make up Minnesota were ceded by Indigenous peoples in a series of treaties in the 1800s, and would like to respect the long-standing relationships of these groups to these lands.

    More information on MnDOT and Tribal Government relations is available at www.mndot.gov/mntribes/

Page last updated: 18 Jul 2022, 04:03 PM