New facility will serve as a jumping off point for full slate of year-round, world-class outdoor recreation opportunities
On July 17, officials from the Loppet Foundation and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) were joined by a crowd of supporters and Theodore Wirth Regional Park users for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that marked the official opening of The Trailhead.
The Trailhead is a new 14,000-square-foot building built with bird-safe glass and a variety of northern hardwoods representative of the forest in Wirth Park. It will serve as a year-round destination for outdoor adventurers from all walks of life.
“Through years of hard work, strategic thinking, and incredible community support, The Trailhead is finally coming to fruition and we couldn’t be happier,” said John Munger, executive director of the Loppet Foundation. “Having this infrastructure in place will give us exactly the boost needed to realize our vision of an ethnically and economically diverse community coming together around a shared passion for the outdoors.”
Building highlights include:
- Large indoor gathering space with seating for 250 people.
- Outdoor patio looking out at multiuse natural trails and the winter tubing hill.
- The Trailhead Adventure Shop: A bike/ski outfitter offering rentals, repairs, concierge services, directions and maps, and outdoor gear, run in partnership with Venture North Bike Shop.
- Cajun Twist will serve up authentic New Orleans cuisine through both indoor and outdoor counter service. It is expected to open later this fall.
- Club Trailhead: Members receive access to locker rooms, showers and fitness studio open hours.
- Indoor/outdoor ticketing counter serving Theodore Wirth Par 3 Golf Club and Snow Tubing.
- The Loppet Foundation offices.
- Free outdoor bike wash and repair station.
- Public restrooms.
The Trailhead is located at 1221 Theodore Wirth Parkway and is open daily 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
“The Trailhead will open countless opportunities for people of all ages, experience levels and backgrounds to enjoy Wirth Park and the natural beauty we’ve been gifted in Minneapolis,” said Mary Merrill, superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. “It’s a great park with incredible trails and attractions, and now we’re thrilled to add this world-class facility.”
The Trailhead was included in the Theodore Wirth Regional Park Master Plan, which calls for an area devoted to lifetime outdoor activities like cross-country skiing, trail running, mountain biking and hiking. The Master Plan was approved by MPRB Commissioners on March 4, 2015 after a five-year public engagement process that included dozens of public meetings.
“Partnerships and volunteers are crucial to maintaining and improving our beloved parks system,” said Brad Bourn, president of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. “We’re proud to partner with an organization like the Loppet Foundation, which has a phenomenal reputation and proven track record of making outdoor recreation experiences available to kids and people of color who have been traditionally excluded from the outdoors.”
The MPRB and the Loppet Foundation have worked together for years to provide maintenance and programming at Wirth Park. That successful relationship expanded as part of this project. The Loppet Foundation oversees snowmaking and mountain bike trail maintenance, while the MPRB remains in charge of golf operations and golf maintenance and programming, with the exception that the Loppet provides customer service staff inside The Trailhead.
“The exciting thing about The Trailhead is how it provides this amazing on-ramp for positive experiences in the out-of-doors,” said Anthony Taylor, Adventures Director of the Loppet Foundation. “Over the years, Loppet programming has been happening in parking lots, out of the backs of trucks and trailers, and we now have this safe space for adventure to live and flourish in North Minneapolis — and realize our ultimate goal of connecting everyone with an active, outdoor lifestyle.”