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Communities unite for Trail in a Day event on Paul Bunyan State Trail

Communities along the Paul Bunyan State Trail will welcome hikers, bikers and inline skaters of all ages with food, music and other entertainment Saturday, Sept. 10, during a day-long group effort to travel the entire 115-mile length of the trail.

Communities along the Paul Bunyan State Trail will welcome hikers, bikers and inline skaters of all ages with food, music and other entertainment Saturday, Sept. 10, during a day-long group effort to travel the entire 115-mile length of the trail.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr, Assistant Commissioner Sarah Strommen and Minnesota State Parks and Trails Director Erika Rivers will be among those participating in the Trail in a Day event, which will help to highlight the 125th anniversary of Minnesota state parks and trails and the 50th anniversary of Minnesota state trails.

The trail passes through 16 towns, including Akeley, Backus, Baxter, Bemidji, Benedict, Brainerd, Guthrie, Hackensack, Jenkins, La Porte, Merrifield, Nary, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Pine River and Walker.

Paul Bunyan will travel north from Crow Wing State Park at 8 a.m., and Babe the Blue Ox will travel south from Lake Bemidji State Park. They will travel by bicycle to Hackensack, where they will be reunited.

Special events along the trail Sept. 10 include (from north to south):

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• Guided Bike Ride to the Mississippi River, Lake Bemidji State Park (10 a.m.-noon): Bring a bike and join a naturalist for an easy bike ride on the paved Paul Bunyan State Trail to the outlet of the Mississippi River. The round trip is 10 miles. Meet at the park office. For more information, contact John Fylpaa at 218-308-2300 or John.Fylpaa@state.mn.us .

• Ethnic Fest in Walker (11 a.m. parade): Outdoor festivities, including music, food and crafts from around the world, will follow a parade. Contact Leech Lake Chamber of Commerce at 218-547-1313 for more information.

• "Meet in the Middle," City Park, Hackensack (1-3 p.m.): Greet Paul and Babe when they meet at the halfway point of the trail. There will be food, family activities and chainsaw quick carves by local artists, with cake and a short presentation. Contact Hackensack Chamber of Commerce at 219-675-6135 for more information.

• 1930s Historic Encampment and Heritage Days, Forbes Park, Pine River (9 a.m.-4 p.m.): The 1930s Historic Encampment features tools of the trade and handmade crafts, displays, storytelling and demonstrations. The historic Pine River Railroad Depot will be open for tours. There will be hobo stew at noon. For more information, contact Pine River Chamber of Commerce at 218-587-4000.

• Pedal Pequot, Trailside Park, Pequot Lakes (9 a.m.-4 p.m.): Enjoy family activities and food. Contact Pequot Lakes Chamber of Commerce at 218-568-8911 for more information.

• Mounted Eagles Walk-n-Roll 10K fundraiser, Nisswa Welcome Center (2-7 p.m.): Walkers, bikers and inline skaters will leave the Nisswa Welcome Center at 2 p.m. and trek six miles on the trail to Pequot Lakes. A spaghetti dinner will be held from 3-7 p.m. at Nisswa Community Center. For more information, contact Lynn Fairbanks at 218-963-3936.

• Guided Bike Ride to the Mississippi River, Crow Wing State Park (10-11:30 a.m.): Bring a bike and join a naturalist for an easy bike ride on the paved Paul Bunyan State Trail to the Mississippi River bridge, just outside the park. The round trip is 12 miles. Meet at the park office. Contact Kacie Carlson at 218-328-8989 or kacie.carlson@state.mn.us for more information.

Trail in a Day event organizers encourage participants to post their trail experiences to the Minnesota state parks and trails Facebook page between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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A vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit). Those who don't already have a Minnesota state parks vehicle permit can purchase one online at www.mndnr.gov/state_parks/permit.html or at the park office.

For more information on the Trail in a Day event or other events at state parks, visit www.mndnr.gov or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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