Of the more than 1,900 rail-trails across the United States, 70 are located in the state of Minnesota, known for one of the best developed and diverse trail networks in the country and second among states in total rail-trail mileage. Built on unused, former railroad corridors, these trails tread storied routes of westward expansion and industrialization and offer a glimpse into life a century ago. Today they bear the signature of their history: tunnels, trestles, raised berms, and depots in communities born and abandoned. Minnesota, once the center of railway activity in the country, is credited for supplying much of the ore from the Mesabi Iron Range to the steel industry that produced the planes, ships, and tanks that led to victory in World War II. Railtrails retrace the tracks of these railways, as well as those of other passenger and freight lines.
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