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For Immediate Release                      
Alan D. Crockett, ACEC, 202-682-4301;
Angela Samadami, Barr Engineering, 952-832-2924;     

Innovative Approach Turns Idled Mine Site into Recreational Showpiece
WASHINGTON, DC (March 18, 2024) – Barr Engineering Co. of Minneapolis, Minn., has earned a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement in the American Council of Engineering Companies’ (ACEC) 57th annual Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) for Redhead Mountain Bike Park in Chisholm, Minn.
Redhead Mountain Bike Park is Minnesota’s first experiment in the use of inactive mines for recreation. Barr Engineering worked with the City and the state Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation to develop and apply an innovative, cooperative land-use strategy.
The project team designed more than 35 miles of single-track mountain biking trails through this rugged landscape. The final trail alignment was based on many factors, including the presence of mine shafts and other features, desirable views, sensitive plant species, slope stability, drainage, and ease of maintenance. The trails are designed to avoid iron ore stockpiles and other potentially usable mine features, and to be relocatable should mining activity resume. This multi-benefit approach allows mining and recreation to coexist and provides Chisholm with economic diversification and added resilience.
Barr Engineering delivers integrated solutions to clients worldwide from 20 offices across North America.
The project is eligible for additional honors as part of 203 entries this year representing engineering excellence from throughout the nation and the world. Judging for the awards program—known industry-wide as the “Academy Awards of the engineering industry”—took place in February and was conducted by a national 32-member panel of built environment leaders, along with experts from government, the media and academia. Award criteria focused on uniqueness and originality, technical innovation, social and economic value, and generating excitement for the engineering profession.
Recognition of all award winners including top winners—16 Honor Awards, eight Grand Awards and the prestigious “Grand Conceptor Award” for the year’s most outstanding overall engineering achievement—will take place during the 2024 EEA Gala, to be held at the Grand Hyatt, Washington, DC, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.
The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) is the business association of America’s engineering industry, representing more than 5,200 independent engineering firms and more than 600,000 professionals throughout the United States engaged in the development of America’s transportation, water, and energy infrastructure, along with environmental, industrial, and other public and private facilities. Founded in 1906 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., ACEC is a national federation of 51 state and regional organizations.