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Renee Ehlenz: Bringing Walking and Biking Paths to Central Minnesota

One of the best predictor of healthy behavior change in a community is how well it supports active life styles for its citizens.

Renee Ehlenz recognized that Sauk Rapids and Benton County in central Minnesota lacked the sidewalks, paths, and bikeways needed to encourage physical activity. She took that issue on as her project in last year's Evolve program (then called ALVA Leadership Development) at St. Cloud Technical & Community College. 

In her project, Renee partnered with the Sauk Rapids Community Development Director, the Center for Changing Landscapes at the University of Minnesota, the Statewide Health Improvement Program, and several local organizations including Boy Scouts of America, VoxLiberi , Biking/Hiking Activists, and Girl Scouts of America to build an awareness of the importance of, and show a need for, additional sidewalks, trails and bikeways.

She has made remarkable progress in her awareness campaign and is well on her way to building the collaboration among partners needed to address her bigger goals.

Her future goals include:

  1. Forging agreement with one or more service clubs for snow removal of specific paths during snow season.  
  2. Creating marketing materials to publicize available pathways.   
  3. Work with community leaders to get additional sidewalks, trails and bikeways using the Complete Streets and SafeRoutes to Schools model.
  4. Work with community leaders to complete Woebegon Trail between St Joe and Sartell.


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