Expect big fun on Saturday, Sept. 10, when communities along the Paul Bunyan State Trail will welcome hikers, bikers and in-line skaters of all ages with food, music and other entertainment during a day-long group effort to travel the entire 115-mile length of the trail.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr, Assistant Commissioner Sarah Strommen and Minnesota state parks and trails Director Erika Rivers will be among those participating in the “Trail in a Day” event, which will help to highlight the 125th anniversary of Minnesota state parks and trails and the 50th anniversary of Minnesota state trails.
At 8 a.m., Paul Bunyan will travel north from Crow Wing State Park and Babe the Blue Ox will travel south from Lake Bemidji State Park. They will travel by bicycle to Hackensack, where they will be reunited (see “Meet in the Middle” below.)
The trail passes through 16 towns, including Akeley, Backus, Baxter, Bemidji, Benedict, Brainerd, Guthrie, Hackensack, Jenkins, La Porte, Merrifield, Nary, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Pine River and Walker.
Lake Bemidji and Crow Wing state parks will host guided bike rides to the Mississippi River from 10 a.m. to noon. These guided rides will highlight the history of the trail and surrounding area, as well as the outdoor recreational opportunities the trail provides. To join one of these rides, meet at the park office. For more information, contact John Fylpaa, Lake Bemidji State Park, 218-308-2300, or Kacie Carlson, Crow Wing State Park, 218-328-8989.
Special events along the trail on Sept. 10 will include (from north to south):
Guided Bike Ride to the Mississippi River, Lake Bemidji State Park (10 a.m.-noon). Bring bike and join naturalist for an easy bike ride on the paved Paul Bunyan State Trail to the outlet of the Mississippi River. Round trip 10 miles. Meet at park office. Contact John Fylpaa, 218-308-2300, or by email at John.Fylpaa@state.mn.us.
Ethnic Fest in Walker (11 a.m. parade). A parade will be followed by outdoor festivities, including music, foods and crafts from around the world. Contact Leech Lake Chamber of Commerce, 218-547-1313.
“Meet in the Middle,” City Park, Hackensack (1-3 p.m.). Be there to greet Paul and Babe when they meet at the halfway point of the trail. There will be food, family activities and a “Chainsaw Quick Carve” by local artists, with cake and a short presentation at 2 p.m. Contact Hackensack Chamber of Commerce, 219-675-6135.
1930s Historic Encampment and Heritage Days, Forbes Park, Pine River (9 a.m.-4 p.m.). The 1930s Historic Encampment features tools of the trade and handmade crafts, displays, storytelling and demonstrations. The historic Pine River Railroad Depot will be open for tours. Hobo stew at noon. Contact Pine River Chamber of Commerce, 218-587-4000.
Pedal Pequot, Trailside Park, Pequot Lakes (9 a.m.-4 p.m.). Enjoy family activities and food. Contact Pequot Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 218-568-8911.
Mounted Eagles Walk-n-Roll 10K fundraiser, Nisswa Welcome Center, Nisswa (2-7 p.m.). Walkers, bikers and inline skaters will leave the Nisswa Welcome Center at 2 p.m. and trek 6 miles on the Paul Bunyan State Trail to Pequot Lakes. A spaghetti dinner will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. at Nisswa Community Center. Contact Lynn Fairbanks, 218-963-3936.
Guided Bike Ride to the Mississippi River, Crow Wing State Park (10-11:30 a.m.). Bring bike and join naturalist for an easy bike ride on the paved Paul Bunyan State Trail to the Mississippi River bridge, just outside the park. Round trip 12 miles. Meet at park office. Contact Kacie Carlson at 218-328-8989 or by email at email@example.com.
“Trail in a Day” event organizers encourage participants to post their trail experiences to the Minnesota state parks and trails Facebook page between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
A vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit). Those who don’t already have a Minnesota state parks vehicle permit can purchase one online (www.mndnr.gov/state_parks/permit.html) or at the park office.
For more information on the Trail in a Day event or other events at state parks, visit www.mndnr.gov or contact the DNR Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-6157 (Twin Cities) or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.