co-produced by Twin Cities Public Television with all National Park Service sites in Minnesota.
(Mick Myers) Well, we knew what we wanted to do, kind-of, we wanted to have a hard surface trail. But we had no idea how to do it, and then we got involved with the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program, called Rivers & Trails, and from there we moved forward.
(Holly Larson) Sometimes, they come to us at the very beginning, they don’t know where to start, but they’ve got this great idea. The first project I worked on was the Casey Jones Trail. An 80-mile trail through the counties that would connect Walnut Grove, of Laura Ingalls Wilder fame, to Pipestone National Monument.
(Mick Myers) We’re developing a trail, that, at some point should be 80-85 miles long. So we have a lot of different communities that we work with.
(Holly Larson) program implements the natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation mission of the National Park Service in communities across the nation. We go outside of the National Park Service boundaries and we work on the projects that communities want to see happen. We work where we’re invited. Communities, nonprofits, cities apply for our assistance to help them with trail projects, conservation areas, and river projects. In Minnesota we do have about 500 miles of paved trails in the state and that’s not enough. We hear from communities all the time that they want something like that in their area.
(Joe Sausen) This stretch of the trail is an example of how people can get out, enjoy themselves, enjoy the scenery. Where else can you have buffalo within a couple of feet of a bike trail?
(Holly Larson) This is a 20 mile nonmotorized trail. It will be paved for biking and walking that will connect from Wyoming, MN to Taylor’s Falls. This follows the traditional path of the Swedish immigrants who came up a hundred years ago.
(Joe Sausen) We had to convince the landowner that yes the trail through your property is a good idea. So, the Eichton Family, was more than generous here.
(Holly Larson) These projects take a lot of dedication from citizens groups, from individuals who spend just countless hours of their freetime, evenings, weekends, to get these trails built.
(Mick Myers) We held a Pipestone Active Living event out here the other night and we had 560 people on the trail for 2 hours, that was pretty cool.
(Holly Larson) When people are able to enjoy 50 years from now, walking or biking or snowmobiling or riding their horses along one of the many trails that we’ve helped get built in the state, that’s our legacy.
A selection from "Minnesota's National Park Legacy" that highlights the NPS Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program and projects in Minnesota, including the Swedish Immigrant Trail.