NorthStar Trail Travelers started the year off with a winter snowshoe event on Saturday, February 12, at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park by Northfield. It was a very cold day but 13 diehard souls showed up and enjoyed seeing the falls frozen over.
In May, the club travels up to the North Shore to walk two state parks, George Crosby-Manitou on Saturday, May 14, and Temperance River on Sunday, May 15. There will be a celebratory cake for Donna in honor of her 50th anniversary of participating in Volkssporting, along with a hobo soup supper that weekend. Crosby-Manitou is one of the most rustic parks in the system and also one of the most challenging for walking! Temperance River State Park lies along Lake Superior and features waterfalls and gorges. Trail scouts have laid out options so folks can walk at their comfort level at either park.
At the end of June, we’ll go to Glendalough State Park on Saturday, June 25, followed by a Sunday event at Glacial Lakes State Park on June 26. One of the last large tracts of undeveloped lakeshore in western Minnesota (9.2 miles) lies within Glendalough State Park. Glacial Lakes is located at a crossroads or transition zone between the original prairie land to the west and the central hardwood forests to the east. Only about 1/10 of one percent of the original Minnesota prairie remains.
August 13-14 brings us north again to the Bemidji area as we walk in a new park. On Saturday, August 13 we go to La Salle Lake State Recreation Area which is Minnesota’s newest state recreation area. It offers a great wilderness experience and peaceful getaway amid red and jack pine forests and woodlands. At 221 acres and 213 feet deep, with over 18,600 feet of shoreline, La Salle Lake is one of Minnesota’s most pristine and deepest lakes. The Lake Bemidji State Park event will be on Sunday, August 14. The park contains a mixture of plant communities from the mixed red and white pine uplands to jack pine barrens. The boardwalk leads into a pine bog where visitors can see pitcher plants, insect-eating sundews, orchids and other plants.
In September we return to a favorite park on Saturday, September 17, to walk at Jay Cooke State Park. The famous Swinging Bridge has been replaced four times after flood damage, but it’s safe and solid for our walk! On Sunday, September 18, we return to Savanna Portage State Park. The park contains the historic Savanna Portage Trail that the Dakota and Ojibwe Indians, explorers and voyageurs found a challenge. The trail required a six mile portage across marsh, swamp, and forest which took an average of five days to reach the West Savanna River.
We end our walking season with our annual meeting guided walk on Saturday, October 29 at Afton State Park. Grand oaks and delicate prairie flowers grace the rugged, rolling landscape of this park. Trails traverse remnant and restored prairies, wind down deep ravines and rise up to the grassy ridgetops and bluffs overlooking the scenic St. Croix River. The park is cut by deep ravines which drop 300 feet to the river. The ravines display spectacular outcrops of sandstone and the rugged terrain affords spectacular views of the St. Croix River Valley.
So join with us in walking in our great state parks, and along the way, give a hand to Donna Seline for sticking with the Volkssport program for 50 years! She loves walking, the state parks and all her walking pals! See you on the trails!
Content contributed by: Donna Seline, NorthStar Trail Travelers