To the editor:

Alexandria's lakes are the foundation of our dynamic local economy. The many recreational opportunities they offer make the Alexandria lakes area a great place to live, work and raise a family.

As operators of seasonal small businesses, we recognize that our out-of-town customers want to visit and spend their dollars in places with the most options for creating memorable experiences. Each July, we coordinate and sponsor a charitable tour/race for paddleboarders, canoeists and kayakers to explore the scenic and lesser known parts of our chain of lakes.

We believe the cities of Alexandria and Carlos, and greater Douglas County should work with the DNR to designate this waterway a state water trail and promote it as a unique adventure for paddlers of non-motorized watercraft.

The DNR is planning to soon alter the Lake Ida and Lake Carlos dams to make them more passable for spawning fish and paddlers. The proposed chain of lakes water trail would link the recently upgraded Lake Brophy County Park, Lake Carlos State Park and the established Long Prairie River State Water Trail.

Although a chain of lakes water trail would require a few, small investments in upgrading low culverts, creating signage, maps and supporting web-based resources, we would like to remind our neighbors of the positive economic impacts the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails and Chisago Lakes Water Trail have had on their communities, as well as our own Central Lakes Trail.

We believe a marathon-length water trail linking Lake Miltona to Lake Victoria, and Lake Brophy to the Long Prairie River, would attract adventurous tourists and be a boon to our community.

Jason Lybeck

Owner, Faction Marine and Faction Boardshop

Alexandria, MN

Michael Jost

Owner, HanglooseMN and Lake Carlos Marina

Carlos, MN