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Is Instagram Killing the Bean and Bear Loop?

Plus hot dogs on the lake, a greenway to St. Paul, and the struggles of the Mpls crisis response team in today's Flyover news roundup.

Lucy Hawthorne|

A visitor to the Superior Hiking Trail surveys the damage he has done.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Instagrammers Are Wearing Out Trail to Bean and Bear Lakes 

We learn as much in Walker Orenstein's latest for MinnPost, which explores how social media is blowing up certain spots along the Superior Hiking Trail—especially the Bean and Bear Lake Loop. “No one really knew about it until Instagram and social media,” says Lisa Luokkala with the Superior Hiking Trail Association. “I think it has gained in popularity." All those additional footfalls mean erosion and “tread compaction," MinnPost reports, though reinforcements are on the way. State legislature recently approved $565,000 (most of it lotto-sourced) for repairs, updates, and upgrades along the SHT, including $197,000 designated for Bean and Bear; the rest will go toward popular stretches of trail that pass through Cascade River State Park and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. And the next time you're enjoying the natural splendor near Lake Superior, don't be a yahoo. “Crowding" and "user conflict management" are two of the biggest headaches for Luokkala's org. Read Orenstein's full story for a lot more info on recreational improvements planned along the North Shore.

Amazing! Husband-Wife Team Grill Hotdogs on the Lake.

Not at the lake. Literally on the lake. Lake Vermillion in northern Minnesota, to be precise. In honor of National Hot Dog Day, we’d like to share the story of Ward and Vicki Danielson, a couple living the dream on their Weiner Cruiser–a dream that’s over a decade in the making. It all started when Ward built a hot dog cart, which he’d bring to fests and parades. But selling dogs to people on land wasn’t enough; he wanted to take his operation to the water, serving up tubed meats to people on boats. “The hot dog cart kind of went to the water because we’re up here boating every weekend,” he tells Baihly Warfield at WDIO. “I’m like, man, you could sell a lot of hot dogs right here.” You can find them on the lake this summer (or follow them via Facebook), their pontoon-like structure emblazoned with bright-yellow “hot dog” flags. Folks pull up to the boat, place their order, and Vicki, often dressed as a hot dog herself, serves them up.

A Glimmer of Hope on the Greenway

A connected Greenway? That goes over the Mississippi River? It's more likely than you think. Ever since the Midtown Greenway was extended to the Mississippi in 2006, folks have dreamed about connecting the popular Minneapolis trail to St. Paul. There's been an obvious way to do it—the so-called Short Line Bridge that extends from the Greenway's current end-point to St. Paul's Prospect Park neighborhood—but despite a few studies, there's been very little movement. For MinnPost today, Peter Callaghan reports on a short passage in the 2023 Minnesota Legislature’s transportation budget that's reason for renewed hope. "The Met Council is charged in the budget with planning for a river crossing and for a variety of trail connections into St. Paul and the existing north-south pathways already in place, with Allianz Field being the ultimate destination," Callaghan writes.

Cyclists are excited, but it's worth noting that the bridge is owned by Canadian Pacific Railroad—the Canadian Pacific Kansas City, following a merger earlier this year—which has never seemed very keen on the idea. As Callaghan explains, railroad land can't be subject to state or local eminent domain.

Is Minneapolis Ready to Fund Its Behavioral Crisis Response Program?

The behavioral crisis response team is just the sort of thing everyone thinks Minneapolis needs to improve public safety without throwing police at every incident. The U.S. Department of Justice even singled out the BCR, which is run by the city but staffed by a company called Canopy Roots, as one thing we were doing right. And yet, as Cathy Wurzer discussed on MPR today with Gina Obiri, the program manager in the Minneapolis Office of Performance and Innovation, the BCR has encountered a lack of interest and even actual resistance from city staff, many of whom think it won't be around for long. How bad is it? Earlier this month, Canopy Roots CEO Candace Hanson informed the Star Tribune that she'd been unable to secure a meeting with Community Safety Commissioner Cedric Alexander, who denied knowing who Hanson was or that she ever reached out to him. (An aide immediately corrected him.) Yesterday, the program, which appears underfunded by any reasonable metric, went before the city council to seek a two-year extension of Canopy Roots' contract, which expires in August.

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