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Contact: Tawnya Schoewe, 218-283-6670
INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MN – Grab a pair of snowshoes and experience the Oberholtzer Trail in a whole new way. Visitors to the park often hike this trail in summer due to its convenient location - near the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. In winter, visitors can explore the trail by snowshoe and experience all winter has to offer in just a short 2-mile trek.
The Oberholtzer Trail was named after conservationist – Ernest Oberholtzer who lived not far from the doors of the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. Ober (as he was known) built his home on Mallard Island in 1915. Years earlier, Ober met an Ojibwe Indian guide - Billy Magee and became fast friends. They traveled, by canoe, thousands of miles throughout the area and into Ontario, Canada.
After years of travel with his Ojibwe companion, Ober realized the area should be set aside for all to enjoy and spearheaded a movement to stop dam development in the region. Oberholtzer's persistence led to the passage of the Shipstead-Newton-Nolan Act in 1930. This legislation, based largely on Ober's alternative plan for the region, prohibited the changing of water levels in the Superior National Forest. It was the first legislation ever passed by the U.S. Congress that mandated wilderness values on federal lands.
Oberholtzer and the many other conservationists, with whom he worked, were successful in setting aside nearly three million acres of wilderness known today as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Many of his fellow conservationists would later help establish Voyageurs National Park.
Today, the park offers this 2-mile trail for visitors to enjoy year-round. Like much of the park, it offers a variety of life from chickadees, red squirrels, red fox, snowshoe hare, to timber wolves. Visitors who snowshoe this trail may spot these or other wildlife.
The Friends of Voyageurs National Park (FVNP) have donated a variety of snowshoes for all ages to enjoy. They are free-of-charge and can be checked-out at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center Wednesdays through Sundays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Snowmobile trails in the park are in fair condition thanks in part to the park's gateway community snowmobile clubs: International Voyageur, Ash River – Kabetogama Snowdrifters, and Voyageur Trail Society.
Below is this week's winter trail conditions report. All reports are available on the park's website at www.nps.gov/voya.
Snowmobile trails are in fair condition. Speed limits in the park are 45 mph on lake surfaces and 25 mph on land portages.
International Falls to Kettle Falls (Purple Trail) – Open, staked, and groomed
Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama Lake to Ash River (Green Trail) – Open, staked, and groomed
Ash River to Crane Lake (Green Trail) – Open, staked, and groomed
Chain of Lakes (Dashed Black Trail) – Open, staked, and groomed
Ash River to Kettle Falls (Yellow Trail) – Open, staked, and groomed
East Namakan Lake to Sand Point Lake (Blue Trail) – Open, staked, and groomed
Rainy Lake Ice Road– Closed
Kab - Ash Ice Road– Closed
Echo Bay Ski Trail – Open, packed, and tracked
Black Bay Ski Trail – Open, packed, and tracked
Tilson Connector Trail – Open, packed, and tracked
Kab-Ash Trail – Open
Black Bay Beaver Pond Trail – Open
Blind Ash Bay Trail – Open
Oberholtzer Trail – Open
Sullivan Bay Trail – Open
"STAKED TRAILS MAKE SAFETY SENSE"
ORANGE IDENTIFIES HAZARDS
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.