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March 1, 2015
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Building a vision for trails

Mike TegederBy Mike Tegeder, president

Among the indoor joys of winter is the Omnifest film series at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Last winter marked the 18th year of the event where five giant-screen movies are shown daily at the museum’s Imax Theater. One of the offerings was a film produced by the Science Museum itself, “The Greatest Places.” Seven geographic wonders from around the world are featured. It was great.

But reflecting on the film I appreciated that Minnesota also has its share of greatest places. And many of these are enjoyed now as state parks and so will remain a living legacy for future generations. And we have them because generations before us had the vision to establish these special places. Indeed next year we celebrate the 125th anniversary of our first state park at Lake Itasca, which is also the second oldest state park in the United States.

That vision is needed today as we seek to develop a world-class trail system for hikers and bikers. I was struck by an article about the mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Like the prime minister of Britain, David Cameron, he rides his bike to work almost every day.

As it happens, Boris, as he prefers to be called, is a member of the Conservative Party. And he makes an interesting connection between being conservative and conservation: “In 1904, 20 percent of journeys were made by bicycle in London. I want to see a figure like that again. If you can’t turn the clock back to 1904, what’s the point of being a Conservative?” He is leading the way in making London bike friendly with bike lanes and trails. He is resetting the clock.

Whatever our political persuasions, there are some things worth conserving and strengthening. Certainly that is the case for our greatest places, our parks and trails.