Paddles and Pavers and Plaid Cake! Oh my...
Bites Grill and Bar in Pine River hosted the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association’s annual dinner meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Co-owner and culinary expert, Wendy Hoplin, baked a cake to remember! Disguised as a pine tree on the outside, once it was cut, the inside was as red and plaid as Paul Bunyan’s favorite flannel shirt! The cakes were on display throughout the evening event, causing great mouth-watering and dessert-longing from all in attendance.
PBSBA chair, Rod Nelson, welcomed the group, recognizing representatives from Scenic Byway jurisdictions, Explore Minnesota Tourism and US Army Corps of Engineers, as well as visiting students, PBSBA members and board members.
Retiring board members Dave Badger and Brian Peterson were thanked for their service. It was noted that Dave will continue to be active with the group as he carries on his red maple planting project, an effort inspired by retired DNR Forester Keith Simar’s comments in his 2015 keynote address to the Scenic Byway group.
New board members, Cindy Mercer-Nelson from the Brainerd Lakes Chamber-Pequot Lakes office, Jim Bergquist, owner of Wind, Water, and Wheels in Crosslake, and Connie Erickson, Crosslake Ideal Lions Club, were warmly welcomed to a fun, productive and exciting three year term.
The US Army Corps of Engineers has been a cooperative partner with the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association for many years. This is a strong working partnership, and the group was honored to enjoy a presentation from Major Jason Toth about the role of the USACE in the St. Paul Headwaters region and how it fits into the national picture as well.
A current local project, the Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens, is currently being developed at the Crosslake Corps site by a committee led by board member, Lynn Scharenbroich. Crosslake Corps site manager, Corrine Hodapp, spoke at the meeting about the new Memorial Pavers opportunity and fundraiser for the Gardens. Pavers are available for $60/each which includes choice of engraved dedication, business name, memorial, or meaningful short message right on the paver. Completed pavers will be installed in the walkways of the Memorial Gardens to become part of the path itself.
Finally, keynote speaker Carol Altepeter, regional representative for Explore Minnesota Tourism, recounted the history of the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway from its start in 1998, seeking paved shoulders along Crow Wing County Road 16, as a way to improve safety for bicyclists trying to reach the new Paul Bunyan State Trail, to its ascension in 2005 as a nationally designated scenic byway highlighting its stories of national significance; the Paul Bunyan logging story and the family resorting story.
From its beginnings to today, the non-profit Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association promotes, preserves and enhances area amenities along and near its route that are free and available to the public to enjoy. The group encourages area residents and visitors alike to “Support What You Enjoy” through volunteer time, in-kind donations and funding. Supporting the PBSBA gives back to the 14 area cities and townships along its 54 mile route in a BUNYAN SIZED way.