There can always be a bright side. This winter’s cold weather has limited my cross-country skiing a bit but it has freed up some reading time. Most recently I have enjoyed reading “Stillwater,” a novel by Mankato-based writer Nicole Helget. I was intrigued by the book’s dedication:
To the great state of Minnesota, to every last noble tree, fresh waterway, glittering fish, singing fowl, woodland creature, field rock, swaying prairie, March skunk, October monarch, star-spattered November night sky, head-clearing January wind, and rich black clump of soil. To all the citizen stewards, sinners, orphans, mothers and myths.
Actually the dedication is not a bad summary of the book’s local color and the sentiments that many of us share. Minnesota is a great state. Definitely above average, as Garrison Keillor would say. And high among our state’s bounty is our system of parks and trails.
This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Parks & Trails Council-our diamond jubilee. Sixty years ago a few visionaries realized that as our state was continuing to be developed, there would be a great loss of priceless habitat, historic sites, and prime recreational lands. They joined together in common effort for the common good. We are so much richer as a state for what they began.
The Harvard historian and TV presenter Henry Louis “Skip” Gates hosts a fascinating program on PBS, “Finding your Roots.” He and his team of researchers trace the genealogies of different Americans. Using DNA techniques, some most unexpected connections are made. He has stated that his goal is to have every family in the U.S. do a genealogy.
This year is a special time to appreciate the amazing genealogy of the Parks & Trails Council. From a few visionaries we have grown to over 3,000 dedicated members and our work continues for every last noble park and trail.
Spring is a time of beginnings. As we look to a new season to enjoy these special places, it is also the time to rededicate our efforts. The legislature is just beginning its session and bonding issues are a main concern. Lets make our voices heard by our legislators and continue the great work begun 60 years ago.