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Parading The Byway Area’s Best-Kept Secret On Display In Spring, Crosslake And Beyond

THE ROUTE IS A FAMILIAR ONE — FOR BOTH PAUL BUNYAN AND THE CROSSLAKE ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE.

Beach, Barclay Township, Gail Lake Township and the city of Pine River. And the Byway — more than anything, maybe — is a reflection of the offerings in those communities. For years Paul and the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway AssociaThere’s something to see or do in all directions and in all tion float have traversed “downtown” Crosslake in the popular seasons — stunning scenery and recreational opportuniparade. And so it was again this weekend (March 16) as the cen- ties year-round along the Byway’s navigable roads with 13 terpiece of the annual Crosslake St. Patrick’s Day celebration. interpretive kiosk sites; miles of walking and biking trails and But Paul’s backyard stretches well beyond this place, and bikeways featuring user-friendly, extra-wide eight-foot shoulstarting with the St. Patty’s Day celebration ders; and access to lakes, brooks and rivers, it will come alive with spring and summer including the historic Whitefish Chain and possibilities. And while Paul may or may not the Pine River. be a mythical figure — in these parts, he’s Lynn Scharenbroich knows more than very real — it’s as if his Byway playground most anyone about this place — or places is sometimes mythical, too. — and for years has worked feverishly, Or maybe, for whatever reasons, the Paul along with the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Bunyan Scenic Byway is just the best-kept Association, to put the Byway on the map, secret in the heart of Paul Bunyan country. including the creation of that all-encomThe Byway tour map, which includes passing Byway map. For years she essenbut mostly stretches well beyond greater tially directed the group. And although she’s Brainerd, essentially runs from just north of slowly moved out of that position in the Pequot Lakes, all the way up beyond Upper last year or so and is more of an associate, Whitefish and all the way to Crosslake to the the Byway and the group that essentially East and bordering Minnesota Highway 371 governs it remain important to her. as it slants slightly west to Pine River. And “How about a cornucopia of everything Biking - here along County it’s dotted with mostly outdoors and recrefrom interpretive-panel stories to woodland Road 16 northeast of Pequot trail walks to a kiss from an Irish-loving ational opportunities, from bicycling to golf. Lakes - is one of the many And maybe that’s the problem — why Paul Bunyan at a local St. Patrick’s Day recreational opportunities the Byway and all of its offerings are still parade?” Scharenbroich, who runs the Black afforded by the Paul Bunyan Pine Beach Resort on the Whitefish Chain a bit of an unknown in the area, even an Scenic Byway. area known as an outdoors and recreational with husband Bob, said of what makes destination. It’s spread out a bit across this the Byway noteworthy.“The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway has vast area. always been about big fun, and for the burly outdoors types, Or maybe it’s the name. Bicycling and trail usage are the opportunities for good times are Bunyanesque. popular along the Byway, as well as on the well-known Paul “All the lakes in the Byway area,” she continued.“fishing Bunyan State Trail, which borders a good chunk of the Byway (winter or summer), turtle hunting, water-skiing, stand-up on the west.That confusion may have something to do with paddle-boarding, driftwood hunting, Big Island and the trail it — folks thinking of the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway as part through the Old Growth Forest there, seeing the (walleye) of the Paul Bunyan Trail when actually, to a certain extent, it’s fish stripping in the spring, canoeing the Pine River, huntthe other way around. ing opportunities along the north side of the Byway in the But there’s much more to the Byway than bicycling.Yes, the Old Grade area — both birds, grouse especially, and deer are Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway is made up of 54 miles of paved, plentiful up there — walking trails all over the place, Uppwide-shouldered county roads that traverse scenic northern gaard and its guided nature walks every summer Wednesday Crow Wing County and a bit of Cass County, offering prime morning, Chiarella (trail) boasting one of the best examples road-cycling possibilities. But the Byway route also winds of a replanted pine forest, Veterans (trail) with its unique Wetthrough 14 local government jurisdictions: city of Jenkins, lands Walk and the unusual woods trail feature of a walking Jenkins Township, Ideal Township, city of Crosslake, Mission bridge across a navigable creek, Rice Lake with its textbookTownship, Pelican Township, Breezy Township, city of Pequot perfect example of a shallow lake and all the environmental Lakes, Wilson Township,Timothy Township, city of Manhattan hoopla that goes along with having a healthy shallow lake in

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Outdoor Traditions - Spring 2013  

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