Park Board approves rules for Bison Plant Trail

The Minot Park Board approved rules for the Bison Plant Trail at its meeting on Tuesday.

The trail has become one of the go-to destinations in the district for mountain biking and hiking, necessitating codifying rules for the usage of the all-season trail. The rules had first been proposed at a prior meeting of the Park Board, and were discussed with comment from the public at a meeting of the Trail Committee on June 6.

The new rules establish usage and right of way for three paths that make up the trail, with priority and prohibited uses shifting based on the season. During the summer months hikers will have right of way on the main trail over bike riders, but will yield to bikes on the challenge trails. The winter season introduces allowed uses like cross country skiing and snowshoeing, along with requirements for fat tire bikes. Hiking without snowshoes is limited to only the main road during the winter in order to preserve the groomed trails and make maintenance of them easier.

General prohibited activities on the main trail and the challenge routes include: using the trail when it is wet or muddy, horseback riding except on the main road, any motorized vehicles, and class 2 E-bikes. Additionally, the rules prohibit any activity that causes damage to the trail, and any unauthorized building or modification of the trails or their features.

Pets are allowed on all trails during the summer and the main road during the winter, as long as they are on a leash 6 feet or shorter and the owner cleans up after them. Unleashed dogs have been an ongoing concern for the users of the trail as multiple individuals have reported being chased down and bitten. Despite a baggie station being made available at the entrance to the trail, pet feces are often left behind.

The question of enforcing a leash law is actually a complicated one, as the trail rests outside the city limits and under the jurisdiction of Ward County. While the city does have a leash law in place, neither the county nor the state currently has leash laws that the sheriff’s office can enforce.

While the enforcement question was left unresolved at the meeting, the board hopes that the additional signage will be enough to educate the public and increase compliance when the trails are used. The board hopes to use these rules as a basis for other trails in the system, especially with the Superfund site being set to be completed this summer.

“The Bison Plant Trail is a busy, busy trail, and that’s a good problem to have.” Park Board Clerk Elly DesLauriers said at the meeting, “I hope the opening of these other trails will begin to balance that out.”


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